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ISIS beaten, United States troops reportedly start Iraq drawdown

ISIS beaten, United States troops reportedly start Iraq drawdown”

The statement did not disclose if the realignment of US personnel might lead to a future troop reduction though an Iraqi official told The Associated Press that USA troop levels could be reduced by 60 percent.

The US-led coalition against the extremist group Islamic State (IS) says it will "shift its focus" in Iraq away from combat operations against the militants.

This meant USA troops would be "gradually reduced", Iraqi government spokesman Saad al-Hadithi told CNN.

Iraq declared victory over ISIS in December 2017, after Iraqi forces eliminated some of the remaining forces of ISIS.

Meanwhile, Iraq said in October that it hoped to restore production at oil fields in the Nineveh area around Mosul over the "next few months", after rehabilitating the sites that Islamic State militants had set on fire to try to hamper the USA -backed offensive on Mosul.

He said those forces do not possess any heavy weapons and they are now positioned in nine joint military camps with the Iraqi Army. They said USA soldiers, weapons and equipment were being transported out of Iraq and sent to Afghanistan.

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Colonel Ryan Dillon, the US-led coalition spokesman, denied the SDF was tolerating an Isis presence, arguing the sprawling desert terrain was harder to recapture than urban areas.

However, the Iraqi officials said the process has not officially begun.

Iraq declared victory over IS in December after more than three years of grueling combat against the extremists in a war Iraqi forces fought with close USA support.

The Iraqi government spokesman told the Associated Press Reporter that: "The battle against Daesh has ended, and so the level of the American presence will be reduced".

The 300 or so Americans account for about 1 percent of the estimated 30,000 foreign fighters who joined ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Since ISIS and other terror groups lost their territories in Iraq and Syria, Washington has been relocating the terrorists to Afghanistan by various means, the top commander went on to say. "Coordination continues, to maintain (U.S.) assistance to the Iraqi forces in accordance with their requirements". At their peak, USA troop levels in Iraq stood near 166,000. At the time the military intervention was described as "limited", but as Iraq's military struggled to roll back the extremists, the US -led coalition's footprint in the country steadily grew. USA troop numbers eventually wound down to 40,000 before the complete withdrawal in 2011.

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