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The US military, who were deployed to Iraq from Syria, do not have permission to stay and can only be in transit there, Reuters reported referring to Iraqi military.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that ultimately Washington intends to return troops withdrawn from Syria to the United States.

A statement by the Iraqi military contradicts the Pentagon’s statement that nearly 1,000 troops withdrawn from northern Syria must move to western Iraq in order to continue the campaign against Islamic State militants and help protect Iraq.

“All US forces that withdrew from Syria received approval to enter the Kurdistan Region so that they may be transported outside Iraq. There is no permission granted for these forces to stay inside Iraq,” the Iraqi military said.

According to Esper, Washington’s objective was for the troops not to remain in Iraq.

“The aim isn’t to stay in Iraq interminably, the aim is to pull our soldiers out and eventually get them back home,” Esper said.

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