RNA - American forces that crossed into Iraq as part of a pull-out from Syria do not have permission to stay and can only be there in transit, according to the Iraqi military.
"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 statement added.
On Monday, an Iraqi security official told Baghdad al-Youm almost 1,000 American forces retreating from Northern Syria have walked into Nineveh province in Northern Iraq, where they will continue their seemingly endless military presence in the region.
The deployment comes just days after President Donald Trump argued that it was “time to bring our soldiers back home”, a rationale that doesn’t seem to hold up to scrutiny now that the US forces have relocated to war-torn Iraq.
"US forces had stationed at Simalka border crossing, a passage between Hasakah province in Syria and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq," the Iraqi official said, adding that "it is not clear where these forces are going to, but, according to information, most of them are reportedly heading for Iraqi Kurdistan".
Expressing concern over the arrival of the US military servicemen, an Iraqi lawmaker stated that the American forces are expected to be stationed in the Sanjar area and around Talafar. The legislator said the US troops have not arrived at the center of Nineveh yet.
Reuters news agency also reported that more than 100 armored vehicles were spotted entering Iraq from the Sahela border crossing in Dohuk province in the Kurdistan region.
In recent days several hundred US troops have fled Northeast Syria into Iraq, as Washington had declared that up to 1,000 American troops would be withdrawn from Northern part of the war-torn country because of the increasing danger posed by the fighting.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper had stated that US forces withdrawing from Northern Syria will be relocated to Western Iraq, stating that he would not rule out the possibility that the American troops could conduct cross-border missions into Syria from their new home in Iraq.
The US troop withdrawal coincided with Turkey’s military incursion into the region, purportedly to create a “safe zone” inside Syrian territory. The military operation has been widely condemned by the international community.
The US and its allies invaded Syria in 2014 under the pretext of fighting terrorism, without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate. Damascus has repeatedly accused Washington of carrying out an illegal occupation of its sovereign territory.
Damascus government has reiterated that any foreign troops in Syria is regarded as an occupying force and the Syrian government has the right to take all the needed measures to confront it.