British soldiers in Erbil, Iraq
Iraq

Iraqi Parliament Votes To Expel Foreign Troops

It comes amid heightened tension in the region, following a US air strike that killed top Iranian commander, General Qassem Soleimani.

British soldiers in Erbil, Iraq

The Iraqi parliament has passed a resolution to expel foreign troops, including British military personnel, from the country.

Around 400 British Army troops are deployed across three different bases, training the Iraqi Security Forces to fight the so-called Islamic State (IS), as part of a global coalition of nations.

The parliament in Baghdad also called for a ban on foreign militaries using Iraqi land, airspace or water.

Parliament resolutions are non-binding but the country's caretaker prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, earlier called on MPs to end foreign troop presence. 

It comes amid heightened tension in the region, following a US air strike that killed top Iranian commander, General Qassem Soleimani, in Baghdad.

General Qassem Soleimani 270718 CREDIT PA .jpg
General Qassem Soleimani was killed in a US air strike on Friday (Picture: PA).

Thousands of people in Iraq attended a funeral procession for the general on Saturday, before his body was flown back to Iran.

The vote comes just hours after the US-led coalition in Iraq announced it had "paused" its training mission, saying the focus was for troops, including British personnel, to now protect the bases.

The coalition, named Combined Joint Task Force, said in a statement that it made the decision after "repeated rocket attacks over the last two months" by Iranian-backed militia. 

Meanwhile, the Government has urged Iraq to allow British soldiers to remain in the country and continue their "vital work".

"The coalition is in Iraq to help protect Iraqis and others from the threat from Daesh (also known as IS), at the request of the Iraqi government," a Government spokesperson said.

"We urge the Iraqi government to ensure the coalition is able to continue our vital work countering this shared threat.”

The UK's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has also urged "all parties" to "de-escalate".

Cover Image: Library picture of British troops in Iraq (Picture: US Army).