Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi says that Iraq is “considering all
the options” for securing their border with Syria when US troops
withdraw from eastern Syria. This includes the possibility of Iraqi ground troops entering Syria.
With large numbers of ISIS remnants in the deserts of eastern Syria and western Iraq, the Iraqi government has been scrambling for months to shore up defenses in the border region, fearing ISIS could reassert itself.
Though this hasn’t happened, the announced US pullout seems to have taken Iraq by surprise. While Turkey apparently has already decided to replace the US in Syria, Iraq may not favor that given their own problems with Turkey in recent years.
It’s not clear how serious this possibility is. Iraqi troops might be favored by the Syrian government over the alternatives. The Iraqi military is not in the best of condition after its own protracted ISIS war, however, and it’s not clear they’d be up for sustaining a foreign deployment.
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