Coalition spokesman: US troops will stay in Iraq as long as needed

Coalition spokesman: US troops will stay in Iraq as long as needed
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A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) said Sunday that American military forces will remain in Iraq to help stabilize the region, Reuters reported

“We’ll keep troops there as long as we think they’re needed ... The main reason, after ISIS is defeated militarily, is the stabilization efforts and we still need to be there for that, so that’s one of the reasons we’ll maintain a presence,” Col. Sean Ryan reportedly said in Abu Dhabi.

ISIS has been driven out of the country following years of conflict, but about 5,200 U.S. troops are still stationed in Iraq, Ryan said. He added that a drawdown of those troops is possible once NATO forces arrive to help train the Iraqis.

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“Possibly, there could be a drawdown, it just depends on when NATO comes in and they help train the forces as well,” Ryan said.

The U.S. has maintained a presence in Iraq since the George W. Bush administration. President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her MORE has called the invasion of Iraq the "single worst decision ever made."

In addition to forces in Iraq, the U.S. has roughly 2,000 troops in Syria fighting ISIS in that country. U.S. troops are allied with Kurdish forces in that region.

Despite the United States's long-standing presence in the region, Trump has repeatedly indicated a desire to rein in the country's global role. He has said the U.S. should not be the "policemen of the world."

Trump on Saturday tweeted that the U.S. will no longer provide $230 million in funding meant to help stabilize Syria, which has been ravaged by civil war and the fight against ISIS.

"Saudi Arabia and other rich countries in the Middle East will start making payments instead of the U.S. I want to develop the U.S., our military and countries that help us!" Trump tweeted.