U.S. troops in Iraq from Syria do not have permission to stay in the country according to Iraq's military.
Tuesday’s announcement comes as a contradiction to U.S. Defense Secretary, Mark Esper's announcement in Afghanistan Sunday, that troops withdrawing from Syria would relocate to western Iraq.
According to Reuters, the Iraqi military said in a statement, "all U.S. 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."
Initially, Esper said the troops would be staying in Iraq to help defend the country and would continue to carry out operations to key ISIS at bay in the region. He did note that “things could change” between now and when the troop withdrawal is complete.
An estimated 1,000 troops will be leaving Syria. There are more than 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq at the moment.
Esper is reported to be sitting down with Iraqi leaders this week to determine how long the U.S. troops from Syria will be staying in Iraq.
Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN