US withdrawing forces from region despite contrary claims: Military sources

Press TV

Informed military sources tell Press TV that the United States has started pulling its troops out of the region since Saturday, despite claims to the contrary.

The sources said Sunday the US has withdrawn its combat troops from Kuwait while C-5 and C-17 military transport aircraft have flown about 700 guards into the region to reinforce protection of American diplomatic missions.

The new revelation came despite prior announcements by American authorities that the US President Donald Trump’s administration has decided to shore up the country’s military presence in the Middle East.

It also followed recent assassination of Iran’s Quds Force commander Lieutenant Qassem Soleimani and his companions, including deputy commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in Baghdad.

In all, 10 people — five Iraqis and five Iranians — were assassinated in the US strike on their motorcade just outside Baghdad airport as Gen. Soleimani’s flight arrived from Syria, leading to speculations that the Israeli intelligence might have played a role.

The assassination prompted calls for revenge from various resistance groups across the region with Iranian officials also vowing crushing response to the US act of terrorism.

The assassination also triggered a wave of outrage among Iranians and Iraqis, and further aligned the two neighbors with vociferous calls for revenge for what they view as “state terrorism.”

Hundreds of thousands of people, chanting “Death to America and “Death to Israel,” held funeral processions for the two commanders and their companions in Baghdad and the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf on Saturday.

Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi and Iraqi commander Hadi al-Amiri, the top candidate to succeed Muhandis, senior cleric Ammar al-Hakim and other important figures accompanied the the large crowd of mourners.

Ameri and many other Iraqi leaders have called on all factions in Iraq to unite and expel foreign troops.

Many Iraqis condemned the US assassination, praising General Soleimani for his role in defeating Daesh terrorists who seized large swathes of north and central Iraq in 2014.

“It is necessary to take revenge on the murderers. The martyrs got the prize they wanted – the prize of martyrdom,” said one of the Iraqi marchers, Ali al-Khatib.