BAGHDAD, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi military said Tuesday that the U.S. forces crossing into Iraq as part of their withdrawal operation from Syria have no permission to stay in Iraq.
"All U.S. forces withdrawing from Syria have been approved to enter the Kurdistan region to move out of Iraq," said a statement by the Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC).
"There is no approval for these forces to remain inside Iraq," the JOC statement said, commenting on media reports that the U.S. forces are conducting a pull-out operation from neighboring Syria into Iraq.
The JOC statement contradicts Sunday's announcement of the U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper who said that roughly 1,000 U.S. troops withdrawing from the northeastern Syria will be repositioned into western Iraq.
Those 1,000 troops will be repositioned into western Iraq to help defend the war-torn country against the Islamic State militants, the Pentagon chief added.
The United States has been withdrawing around 1,000 U.S. troops from northern Syria amid Turkey's military operations targeting the Kurdish forces in several parts of northeastern Syria launched about two weeks ago.