Published On: Tue, Oct 22nd, 2019

Iraqi military issue threat to ‘unwelcome’ US troops leaving Syria | World | News

The US forces entered Iraq as their controversial withdrawal from Kurdish-held northeastern Syria continues. But an Iraqi military spokesman said: “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.”

US military vehicles were pelted with potatoes and stones as they drove through Kurdish-dominated cities on their way out of Syria.

Video footage shows angry residents hurling anti-US insults as a convoy of armoured vehicles made its way through the city of Qamishli.

People shouted: “No America, America liar” in English. Another man shouted in Arabic: ”Like rats, America is running away.”

The film shows on US military vehicle reversing over a footpath in an attempt to get away from the crowd.

Another video, filmed in the city of Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, shows young people throwing stones at a convoy and yelling expletives as it drives past.

In another video a man holds a sign saying: “Thanks for US people, but Trump betrayed us.”

Donald Trump has defended his decision to withdraw troops from Syria and insisted the US never promised to protect the Kurds forever.

His abrupt decision earlier this month to withdraw troops from northern Syria has been criticised in Washington and elsewhere as a betrayal of loyal Kurdish allies who had fought for years alongside US troops against ISIS.

The Turkish border offensive, following a US troop pullback that in effect gave Turkey the go-ahead to invade, ended Syrian Kurdish rule of “Rojava” – their name for northeastern Syria – and left Iraqi Kurdistan as the Kurds’ only self-governed land.

Iraqi Kurdish President Nechirvan Barzani said the US withdrawal from Syria was “undesirable” but insisted the semi-autonomous region appreciated the America’s historical role in protecting it.

The statement underscored the cautious reaction from Iraqi Kurdish leaders who did not condemn neighbouring Turkey for an assault on northeastern Syria that has sent thousands of Kurds fleeing.

Iraqi Kurdistan relies on Turkish pipelines to export oil and the countries have close political ties.

Mr Barzani said: “We understand the high emotions of our people but the appreciation for the role and contribution of the coalition forces, especially the United States military, should not be affected by undesirable political decisions.”

He said US troops had “played a major role” protecting the Kurdistan region over the past three decades.

He said: “They have fought and bled alongside the Peshmerga forces in defending the Kurdistan region.”

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