The Commander of the United States Central Command, General Kenneth McKenzie, said on Wednesday that his country intends to reduce the number of its forces in Iraq and Syria in the coming months.
McKenzie explained that American and other NATO forces plan to maintain a long-term presence in Iraq, to help fight terrorism and stop the Iranian influence in the country.
“The threat against our forces from Shia militant groups has caused us to put resources that we would otherwise use against ISIS [Daesh] to provide for our own defence, and that has lowered our ability to work effectively against them,” he said.
Although the top US army official refused to disclose the size of the presence, other American officials said discussions with their Iraqi counterparts which will resume this month could lead to reducing the number to about 3,500 soldiers.
US President Donald Trump recently announced that American forces in Afghanistan will be reduced to about 4,000 down from 8,600.
Trump also ordered 12,000 soldiers to withdraw from Germany, including 6,400 soldiers who will return to the US while nearly 5,600 soldiers will be deployed in other European countries.