Iraq says USA downsizes troops in Iraq after IS defeat

State militants seized in Iraq the detainees being held after the fall of Raqqa in the Kurdish region of Syria fall into a leg

An Iraqi government spokesman and US contractors in the country told the Associated Press on Monday that American forces had begun a drawdown from Iraq following Baghdad's declaration of victory over ISIS militants.

The troops were part of the USA -led worldwide coalition that has also been conducting air raids against IS targets in both Iraq and Syria.

Training at building partner capacity sites is an integral part of Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve's global Coalition effort to train Iraqi security forces personnel to defeat ISIS. An unnamed senior Iraqi official told the AP an initial agreement between Baghdad and Washington would see 60 percent of USA troops withdraw. He spoke to the AP on Monday afternoon in Baghdad.

The U.S. -led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) announced a "shift" in operations in Iraq amid reports of a U.S. drawdown there.

Yet the Pentagon doesn't even give us figures on troop levels in Iraq anymore, so large numbers of troops could likely be withdrawn and there'd still be enough troops in Iraq as to be in excess of the latest published troop levels.

Dozens of American soldiers have been transported from Iraq to Afghanistan on daily flights over the past week.

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A journalist at the Al-Asad base in western Iraq reported that troop movements were taking place at the facility, which appeared to be in line with the contractors' accounts.

The contractors and officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations and declined to reveal the exact size of the drawdown.

A Pentagon report in December stated that there were 8,892 U.S. troops in the country.

Despite that information, the US military cites the official number of USA troops in Iraq as approximately 5,262.

Al-Abadi, who is looking to remain in office for another term, has long struggled to balance the often competing interests of 's two key allies: Iran and the United States. The terrorist group swept through Iraq in 2014, and at its height controlled a third of Iraqi territory.

However, the Iraqi officials said the process has not officially begun. At a press briefing last month U.S. Marine Corps Brig. US troop numbers eventually wound down to 40,000 before the complete withdrawal in 2011.

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