The top US. Commander Gen. Frank McKenzie on Friday said that the United States will keep the current 2,500 troops in Iraq for the foreseeable future.
McKenzie warned that he expects increasing attacks on US and Iraqi personnel by Iranian-backed militias determined to get American forces out.
McKenzie in an interview with The Associated Press said that despite the shift by US forces to a non-combat role in Iraq, they will still provide air support and other military aid for Iraq’s fight against the Islamic State.
“They actually want all US forces to leave, and all US forces are not going to leave. That may provoke a response as we get later into the end of the month,” said McKenzie.
Iraq’s national security adviser, Qassim al-Araji said on Thursday that US forces ended their combat mission in the country and that “They will continue only in a training and development capacity.”
Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga Brigadier General Hazhar Ismail also confirmed the news, saying that the US-led coalition said it was ready to end the mission sooner than the previous deadline.
McKenzie added that Islamic State militants will continue to be a threat in Iraq and that the group will keep recreating itself.
According to McKenzie, the IS should not be able to coalesce with other elements around the globe and become increasingly strong and dangerous.
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