Baghdad, Jan 7 (IANS) The US-led international coalition fighting the Islamic State (IS) militant group has announced its preparation to exit Iraq after the resolution of the Iraqi parliament to withdraw foreign forces.
“In deference to the sovereignty of the Republic of Iraq, and as requested by the Iraqi parliament and the Prime Minister, CJTF-OIR (coalition forces, known as Operation Inherent Resolve) will be repositioning forces over the course of the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement,” said a letter from US Marine Corps Brigadier General William H Seely III, commanding general of Task Force Iraq.
The authenticity of the letter, which was addressed to the Iraqi Joint Operations Command and carried by Iraqi media, could not be immediately verified by the Iraqi military.
The statement came a day after the Iraqi parliament passed a resolution requiring the government to end the presence of foreign forces in Iraq and prevent them from using Iraqi airspace and waters, Xinhua news agency reported.
On Friday, a US drone struck a convoy at Baghdad International Airport, killing Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy chief of Iraq’s paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces.
Over 5,000 US troops have been deployed in Iraq to support the Iraqi forces in the battles against IS militants, mainly providing training and advising for the Iraqi forces.