Italy reduces Iraq troops, but IS 'could return'

ROME – Italy will have fewer troops stationed in Iraq, with Italy’s Ministry of Defence stating that they will be “reducing our military position by about half,” according to Corriere della Sera.

 At present, there are 1,500 Italian soldiers deployed in Iraq, but the Italian Ministry of Defence guaranteed only that 700 would remain, with some troops being returned home and others being redeployed in other conflicts.

 The announcement arrived on the same day that the country hosted 15 defence ministers from the anti-ISIS coalition at Villa Madama in Rome to discuss the future of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, with ministers warning that ISIS had not yet been defeated and could yet return in the Middle East, North Africa or Afghanistan.

 The meeting was presided over by Roberta Pinotti, Italy’s Defence Minister. Chief of the guests was the United States’s Head of the Pentagon, James Mattis, who is in Europe throughout the next two weeks for a series of crucial meetings with allies in the region.

 The US confirmed at the meeting that they would be giving dlrs 200 million in aid to areas affected by ISIS.

 Pinotti stated that the meeting was a chance to concentrate on “the future of the coalition, it is the moment do begin a political and strategic reflection, now that Daesh is uprooted from the territorial dimension but still not totally overcome in its ideology of death and in its propaganda grip.”