The US will decrease the number of troops deployed in Erbil International Airport in the Kurdistan Region as well as in Ain al-Assad Air Base in al-Anbar province, the Iraqi military’s Joint Operations Command announced on September 17.
In a statement, the Joint Operations Command said that the limited drawdown was agreed upon during a recent meeting between the Iraqi Military Technical Committee, headed by the Deputy Commander of Joint Operations Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir al-Shammari, and the American side headed by Operation Inherent Resolve commander in Iraq, Maj. Gen. John W. Brennan Jr.
“The two sides agreed to reduce American combat units and combat capabilities in military bases in Ain al-Assad and Erbil, to be completed by the end of this September. The level of the leadership of the international coalition was also reduced from a headquarters led by a team officer to a smaller headquarters led by an officer with the rank of brigade for the purposes of management, support, equipment and exchange of intelligence and advice,” the statement reads, according to Iraq’s Shafaq News.
The two sides also stressed in the statement that the US military is present in Iraq under an official request by the country’s government.
The limited drawdown, which is short from the full US withdrawal demanded by Iran’s allies in Iraq, is meant to reshape Washington’s military presence in Iraq.
Last July, the US and Iraq reached an agreement that will see the withdrawal of all American “combat forces” from the country before the end of 2021. The remaining troops will supposedly “train” Iraqi government forces.
Iran’s allies and so-called “resistance forces,” who carried out dozens of attacks on US-led coalition bases and supply convoys in the last few months, have already rejected this approach and demanded a complete withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.