International coalition forces to leave Iraq before 2022
The US-led forces in Iraq have announced their combat mission has ended following an agreement with the Iraqi government that stipulated they would be leaving the country by the end of December.
The Combined Joint Operations Command (CJOC) said the US-led international coalition forces in Iraq would have had completely left the country by the end of December, denying certain media reports suggesting otherwise.
The CJOC reported that Iraq and the United States had reached an agreement following the principles of their strategic dialogue and the latest technical meetings, which stipulates that all coalition personnel with a combat role be transferred outside of Iraq.
However, coalition commander Major General John Brennan said, "As we complete our combat role, we will remain here to advise, assist, and enable the ISF (Iraqi security forces), at the invitation of Republic of Iraq."
The Joint Operations Command said the majority of the forces had already left Iraq, and the rest would be leaving in the coming days.
"Cooperation will continue between Iraqi security forces and the international coalition on an advisory and support level," Major General Saad Maan, head of Iraq's Security and Media Cell, told reporters.
The CJOC asserted that the advisors to remain in Iraq would be in respect of Iraq's sovereignty and international law.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi had said ahead of a trip to Washington on July 25 that Washington and Baghdad had "agreed in April that the US transition to a train-and-advise mission meant the US combat role would end."