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US Defense Secretary in Baghdad after withdrawal of troops from Syria (diplomatic source)

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — US Defense Secretary Mark Esper will meet Iraqi officials on Wednesday to discuss regional developments after his troops arrived in northern Kurdistan on Monday after withdrawing from northeastern Syria, a diplomatic source said.

Esber said that he will meet with his Iraqi counterpart, Najah al-Shammari. The Iraqi Joint Operations Command confirmed in a statement Tuesday that “there is no approval to remain these forces (US) inside Iraq.”

The Operations Command said in a statement that “all US forces that withdrew from Syria, obtained approval to enter the Kurdistan region, moved outside Iraq.”

In an interview during a visit to the Prince Sultan base near Riyadh, where US troops are deployed, Esper told CNN that his country’s troops withdrawing from Syria would be temporarily stationed in Iraq before returning to the United States.

The United States currently has 5,200 military personnel in Iraq deployed within the framework of the international coalition against jihadists led by Washington.

Their distribution to a number of bases in Iraq is controversial, with Shi’ite political and military forces in Iraq opposing their presence and demanding their withdrawal.

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