The United States-led military coalition against Islamic State said on Monday that it was pulling out of Iraq and would be repositioning forces over the next few days and weeks, a letter seen by Reuters showed.
Iraqi lawmakers approved a resolution on Sunday asking the Iraqi government to end the agreement under which Washington sent forces more than four years ago to help in the fight against ISIS.
The vote was another sign of the blowback from the U.S. airstrike last Friday that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and a number of top Iraqi officials at the Baghdad airport
"Sir, in deference to the sovereignty of the Republic of Iraq, and as requested by the Iraqi Parliament and the Prime Minister, CJTF-OIR will be repositioning forces over the course of the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement," read a letter from United States Marine Corps Brigadier General William H. Seely III, the commanding general of Task Force Iraq.
The authenticity of the letter, which was addressed to the Iraqi defense ministry's Combined Joint Operations Baghdad, was confirmed to Reuters independently by an Iraqi military source.
"We respect your sovereign decision to order our departure," it said.
A pullout of the estimated 5,200 U.S. troops could cripple the fight against ISIS and allow it to make a comeback. It could also enable Iran to deepen its influence in Iraq.
First published: 22:19 , 01.06.20