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US troops leaving Syria ‘cannot stay in Iraq’

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Iraqi military chiefs have said US troops leaving Syria and heading to neighbouring Iraq do not have permission to stay in the country.

Officials said 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 US defence secretary Mark Esper, who has said that under the current plan, all American troops leaving Syria will go to western Iraq and the military will continue to conduct operations against the so-called Islamic State group to prevent its resurgence.

Mr 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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