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Iraq says U.S. troops do not have permission to stay


BAGHDAD – Iraq’s military says U.S. troops leaving Syria and heading to neighboring Iraq do not have permission to stay in the country.

Tuesday’s statement says that American troops currently withdrawing from Syria have acquired permission from the Iraqi Kurdish regional government to enter Iraq to later be transferred out of the country.

It added that these troops do not have any approval to stay in Iraq.

The statement appears to contradict U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper who has said that under the current plan, all U.S. troops leaving Syria will go to western Iraq and the military will continue to conduct operations against the Islamic State group to prevent its resurgence.

Esper said he has spoken to his Iraqi counterpart about the plan to shift the more than 700 troops leaving Syria into western Iraq.

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