Qasem Soleimani, commander of Iran's elite Qods force, has long played an influential role in Iraq. AP file photo.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraq’s Council of Ministers on Monday denied there were any foreign combat forces in the country, reacting to reports that Iranian forces have been fighting alongside the Iraqi Army in the war with ISIS.
“There are no combat forces in Iraq from any country. The role of all non-Iraqi military personnel is advisory,” said a statement from the council’s media office.
The Iraqi government “has always been open about the role of military advisors whether they came from Iran, USA, or other countries that have been supporting Iraq in its confrontation with Daesh (ISIS),” the statement added.
It came a day after Kurdish lawmaker in the Iraqi parliament, Shakhawan Abdullah, claimed there were 30,000 Iranian soldiers and military experts in Iraq, warning that was a “threat to Iraq’s sovereignty.”
The MP's claims “came as a surprise,” the ministers said in their statement.
“It's clear to Iran and all Iraq's friends who have military advisors in Iraq that Iraq's sovereignty must be respected. They have been operating in coordination with the Iraqi government,” the statement said.