Number of U.S. troops in Iraq will be cut down gradually: ambassador

U.S. army forces participate in combat training in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil, December 22, 2016. Picture taken December 22, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Baghdad ( The U.S. military presence in Iraq is limited to advisory duties and the number of troops will be cut down gradually, American ambassador to Iraq said Wednesday.

Alsumaria News quoted Douglas Silliman saying in a press conference at the embassy in Baghdad that U.S. military presence has been decreased in Iraq, especially in Anbar province in coordination with Iraqi forces.

He noted that the next months will see U.S. troops reduced gradually without a replacement.

According to Silliman, the U.S. is currently focused on the training of Iraqi troops to maintain control over areas recaptured from Islamic State militants, as well as humanitarian aid to refugees.

He put the total of U.S. expenditure on security at recaptured areas, including demining efforts, at USD112 million, besides other funds spent through the UNDP in Iraq.

The Pentagon said in November it maintains nearly 8000 troops in Iraq.

Iraqi officials have regularly said the U.S.-led coalition forces, which supported Iraqi operations against IS since 2014, had not been engaged in ground combat, and were rather providing air and artillery backup.


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