US Starting to Withdraw Forces in Iraq Following Defeat of ISIS

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An Associated Press reporter at the Al-Asad base in western Iraq saw troop movements reflecting the account by contractors.

Earlier Monday, The Associated Press and Reuters quoted an Iraqi government spokesman as saying US forces were drawing down in the country following ISIS's defeat there.

According to one senior official who spoke to AP, 60 percent of the American troops now in Iraq will be withdrawn as part of the agreement, leaving around 4,000 to train the Iraqi military. Some 4,000 USA troops will continue training Iraqi army.

The Badr Organization, a Shi'ite group that has a minister in Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's government, in charge of the interior, said any remaining U.S, troops would be cause for instability.

Last year, Abadi told Middle East Eye that Iraq wanted fewer U.S. forces on its territory after IS was eradicated.

"Continued coalition presence in Iraq will be conditions-based, proportional to the need and in coordination with the government of Iraq", coalition spokesman Army Col. Ryan Dillon told AP. As of late September previous year there were 8,892 US troops in Iraq.

Sources say coordination will continue between the US military and Iraqi forces based on conditions not yet released.

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The U.S. first launched airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq in August 2014. Iraq was the first country in United States military history where they were forced to withdraw in accordance to the initial agreement for the forces withdrawal from that country.

The reports were confirmed by Hadithi, who said: "The battle against ISIS has ended and so the level of the American presence will be reduced".

Iran, Russia, Iraq, and Syria held a meeting on Sunday under the chair of the Director of Military Intelligence of Iraq, Major General Saad Mezher al-Alaq and featuring Iranian Ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi at the event.

"They are more risky than those who appeared on the first list published on Sunday and they are wanted internationally whereas the others are wanted only by the Iraqi courts", a security official told AFP.

A from U.S. Central Command, which is responsible for U.S. troops in the Middle East, said that the airstrike hit one of the last areas under Islamic State control near the Syrian border with Iraq. In 2014, at the height of the Sunni militant group's power, Daesh controlled almost a third of Iraqi territory.

"We'll continue our presence as long as the Iraqis ask us to".

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