Iraq has not received any formal U.S. request to allow U.S. troops withdrawing from Syria to temporarily redeploy in northern Iraq, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi said Monday.
At a press briefing in Baghdad, he denied reports that Washington had asked the Iraqi government if it could temporarily deploy departing troops at a U.S. military base near the city of Erbil, the administrative capital of northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).
“We have not received any request from Washington to this effect,” he confirmed, noting that U.S. forces could only use Iraqi territory “with the Iraqi government’s express permission”.
Abdul-Mahdi also refuted reports that Iraq planned to send troops to Syria at Washington’s request, describing such claims as “entirely groundless”.
“The U.S. cannot ask us to send troops to Syria; there has been no request in this regard,” he said. “Only the Iraqi government -- not the U.S. -- can take such a momentous decision.”
In light of recently announced plans by the U.S. to withdraw all its troops from war-weary Syria, Abdul-Mahdi also warned of the possible reemergence of the notorious Daesh terrorist group.
“The [U.S.] withdrawal decision will directly affect Iraq,” he said. “We have contacted our friends in Erbil [i.e., the KRG] about this.”
“Iraq maintains good relations with all sides in Syria, along with other neighboring countries,” he asserted.
The prime minister added: “We remain in close contact with all relevant parties with a view to preventing any undesired effects from the planned U.S. withdrawal.”
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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