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Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Saturday that all of the nearly 1,000 US troops withdrawing from northern Syria are expected to move to western Iraq, Reuters reported.

“The US withdrawal continues apace from northeastern Syria... we’re talking weeks, not days,” Esper told reporters, adding that it was being carried out through aircraft and ground convoys.

He said the mission for those troops would be to “help defend Iraq” and carry out a counter-Islamic State mission.

A senior US defense official clarified, however, that the situation was still fluid and plans could change.

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