Pentagon chief says US forces enter, leave Iraq with govt permission: Iraqi PM

Esper speaks at Summerall Field, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia on Sept. 13, 2019. (File photo: AFP).

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi on Wednesday that the United States respects Iraq’s sovereignty and that US forces enter and leave Iraq with Baghdad’s permission, Abdul Mahdi’s office said.

“The US forces withdrawing from Syria into Iraq enter andleave Iraqi territory with permission and approval from the Iraqi government, and any media reports of them staying in Iraq are not true,” Abdul Mahdi’s office quoted Esper as saying.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Iraqi defense minister said that American forces withdrawing from Syria to Iraq will leave the country within four weeks.

Iraq’s military said on Tuesday that American troops leaving northeastern Syria don’t have permission to stay in Iraq in a statement that appeared to contradict Esper, who has said that all US troops leaving Syria would continue to conduct operations against ISIS from Iraq to prevent its resurgence in the region.

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Last Update: 17:02 KSA 20:02 - GMT 17:02
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