US Defense Secretary Pays Surprise Visit To Iraq Amid US Troop Pullout From Syria- Reports

US Defense Secretary Pays Surprise Visit to Iraq Amid US Troop Pullout From Syria- Reports

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper has arrived in Baghdad for an announced visit and is expected to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and Defense Minister Najah Hassan Ali Shammari, the Reuters news agency reported on Wednesday

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 23rd October, 2019) US Defense Secretary Mark Esper has arrived in Baghdad for an announced visit and is expected to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and Defense Minister Najah Hassan Ali Shammari, the Reuters news agency reported on Wednesday.

Esper is expected to discuss with the Iraqi ministers the withdrawal of US troops from Syria and the role that Iraq could play in it, the agency specified.

Esper has recently announced that around 1,000 US servicemen, withdrawn from Syria's north, will head to Iraq, while the Iraqi Joint Operations Command stressed on Tuesday that only transit had been authorized, and the US military would not be allowed to remain in the country.

The US troops have already left most of their bases located in Syria's Aleppo, Al Hasakah and Raqqa, moving to Iraq. Washington has decided to leave Syria's north-east after Turkey launched on October 9 its military operation there, targeting Kurdish militia, labeled as terrorists by Ankara and seen as allies in the fight against the Islamic State terror group (IS, banned in Russia) by the US.

The US and its allies have been conducting the anti-IS operation in Syria and Iraq since 2014, in spite of having no consent from the Syrian official government.

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