Confusion over U.S. troops possibly leaving Iraq

Confusion over U.S. troops possibly leaving Iraq

Confusion over U.S. troops possibly leaving Iraq

Esper told reporters in Washington: "There's been no decision to leave Iraq".

Chief of the defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance says the Canadian military is temporarily relocating some soldiers from Iraq to Kuwait.

The 62-year-old's assassination has sparked protests across his homeland, with his daughter vowing the United States faces a "dark day" as a outcome of its actions.

Media reports last night said that the USA military had written to Iraq yesterday that it would pull out of the country and would be repositioning forces over the next few days and weeks, in the aftermath of an American drone strike that killed Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani.

The Iraqi parliament on Sunday voted to expel American troops from the country in response to the USA assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani Thursday in a drone strike at the Baghdad International Airport.

"If they do ask us to leave - if we don't do it in a very friendly basis - we will charge them sanctions like they've never seen before", Trump said.

The letter was addressed to sLTG Abdul Amir, the deputy director of Combined Joint Operations Baghdad.

But after a few hours of denials and frantic phone calls, top Pentagon leaders tried to do damage control, stating flatly that the USA had no plans to leave and saying the letter was a poorly worded draft that never should have gone out.

The letter said US-led coalition forces against the "Islamic State" (IS) would take measures to ensure the "movement out of Iraq" is conducted safely and efficiently.

But the Pentagon later denied it had any intention to withdraw USA forces.

However, Esper said, "I think the Iraqi people want us to be there" to continue the train, advise and assist mission against the Islamic State.

Milley said the draft was poorly worded and wasn't signed.

The letter said there would be an increase in helicopter travel around the Green Zone and said, "We respect your sovereignty decision to order our departure".

Earlier, US president Donald Trump warned Iraq he would levy punishing sanctions if it expelled American troops in retaliation for the Baghdad air-strike which killed Solemaini.

Reporters could hear helicopters flying low over Baghdad throughout the night on Monday.

The parliament was reacting several days after a USA airstrike took out Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. It did not give a timeline.

The U.S. Department of Defense wrote to the Iraqi government that it is repositioning forces in line with a request from the Iraqi parliament and prime minister.

Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' Quds Force foreign operations arm, was killed in a United States drone attack in Baghdad on Friday.

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