Pompeo makes surprise visit to Baghdad and Erbil to reassure Iraqi officials on US Syria withdrawal

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unannounced stop in Iraq on Wednesday as part of a larger tour of the Middle East in which he is reassuring partners of America's presence in the region following President Donald Trump's surprise decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.

Pompeo met with top Iraqi officials in Baghdad, including Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi and President Barham Salih, before stopping in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.

"We certainly talked about the president’s decision to withdraw from Syria, but we focused more importantly on the enormous important impact of the Iraqi government formation process," Pompeo told reporters before departing Erbil, referring to the new Iraqi government which took over this past fall.

"Real progress has been made since the elections in Iraq which I think will put this country and this region in a far better place," he said, adding that Washington and Baghdad share a common understanding about the fight against ISIS and the importance of countering Iran.

Pompeo was adamant that the growing rift between the U.S. and Turkey over the protection of the Kurds would have no effect on the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria and that America's Kurdish allies in Syria would be protected.

 Read more at ABC News

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