Donald Trump makes surprise visit to US troops in Iraq

Donald Trump has visited Iraq for an unannounced first meeting with US troops serving in the region.

The president was accompanied by First Lady Melania and the pair spent three hours on the ground with troops at the Al Asad Air Base west of Baghdad.

Mr Trump, who arrived amid great secrecy on Air Force One, said the United States had no plans to withdraw its troops from the country, adding: “In fact we could use this as the base if we wanted to do something in Syria.”

He defended his shock decision to withdraw US forces from Syria, announced without consulting allies or advisers before Christmas.

The move prompted the abrupt resignation of his defence secretary General James Mattis and rattled allies around the world, including in Iraq.

There are more than 5,000 US troops still in Iraq, 15 years after the 2003 invasion.

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