Iraqi army forces guard at the entrance of Umm Qasr Port as protesters block the road during ongoing anti-government protests, south of Basra, Iraq November 5, 2019. REUTERS/Essam al-Sudani

CAIRO, January 6. /TASS/. Iraq has restricted the movement of the international coalition’s forces as part of preparing a mechanism of the foreign troop pullout from the country, the Al Mavasin TV Channel reported on Monday, citing spokesman for the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces Abdul Karim Khalaf.

“The Iraqi authorities have prepared a mechanism of the US troop’s withdrawal from the country’s territory,” he said. “The functions of the international coalition will be limited only to the consulting role, the delivery of armament and the training [of Iraqi forces] while its armed forces will leave,” he said.

The spokesman’s statement comes in the wake of a US airstrike against Baghdad Airport, which killed Commander of the Quds Force from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (the elite wing of the Iranian military) General Qasem Soleimani along with several officials from the Iraqi militias.

“The government has restricted the actions of the international forces both on land and in the air,” Khalaf said. “Now they are prohibited to carry out any movements,” he added.

According to him, the US carried out some operations without the knowledge of the Armed Forces’ Main Command. “The recent US strikes are a stupid thing that cannot be reconciled with,” he stressed, pointing out that during the US bombing attack, Commander of the Quds Special Operations Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Qasem Soleimani was “a guest of Iraq on whom no attack must be carried out.” “The presence of Soleimani was an internal affair of Iraq,” the spokesman said.

The situation in Iraq deteriorated dramatically on December 29 after US airstrikes on facilities of the Kataib Hezbollah militia group in Syria and Iraq. The Pentagon claimed at the time that Kataib Hezbollah was responsible for a rocket attack on an Iraqi base near Kirkuk that killed a US citizen. The US actions evoked harsh criticism by the Iraqi authorities, which stated the need to revise relations with the Washington-led international anti-terror coalition.

The situation further escalated after the United States delivered an airstrike overnight to January 3 on Baghdad Airport on order from US President Donald Trump, which killed Soleimani and several officials from the Iraqi militias.

At its emergency session on January 5, the Iraqi parliament adopted a resolution in response to the US actions, obliging the country’s government “to put an end to the foreign military presence in the republic and halt the work under the security agreement concluded with the forces of the international anti-terror coalition.”.


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