US troops will remain in Iraq for as long as necessary to stabilize the previously dominated jihadists of the Islamic State (IS). A spokesman said on Sunday that the United States led international coalition against these militants, Reuters reported.
"We will keep the soldiers there until we find it necessary … The main reason behind IS's military defeat is the stabilization effort," said Colonel Sean Ryan at a press conference in Abu Dhabi.
However, the number of US soldiers in Iraq can be reduced, depending on when the NATO unit will be deployed to help train the Iraqi army, Ryan said. He added that there are currently about 5,200 soldiers in Iraq.
NATO Ministers of Defense agreed in February to hold a larger training and advisory mission in Iraq after the United States called on the Alliance to help stabilize this country after three years of war against IS.
Iraq officially announced a victory against Muslim militants in December last year, five months after the recapture of their bastion, the city of Mósul in the north of the country.
The United States also has approximately 2,000 soldiers in Syria, supporting the Kurdish leadership-led Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) to fight ISD jihadists in smaller locations that are still under control at the Iraqi border.
Ryan told reporters that the cooperation between the SDF and the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), which until now was mostly associated with the international coalition, has increased, but they have also started to communicate with each other.
The Iraqi army has carried out several air strikes against the IS in Syria since the last few days, with the approval of Syrian President Bashar Assad and the United States coalition.
SDF operations aimed at eliminating militants on the Syrian side of the border are slowing down hundreds of explosive devices that IS has set up, Ryan added.