The U.S. troops have ended their combat mission in Iraq, as per earlier agreements with the Iraqi government. But for the time being the Pentagon announced, all of the troops are staying put, with their role morphing into an “advise and assist” role with the Iraqi military that continues to fight insurgents from the Islamic State. 

The 2,500 U.S. troops will remain in Iraq as the transition to the advisory role resulted from talks between the U.S. and Iraqi governments. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said during an off-the-air press conference on December 9th, “This is a change in mission, not a change in physical posture,” Kirby said. “There won’t be a dramatic shift from yesterday to tomorrow.”

“The vast majority of what they’ve been doing for a while has been advise, assist and train,” he added stating those forces will retain the right to defend themselves if they are attacked.

The U.S.-led coalition has been fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) since the terror group swept across large swaths of Iraq and Syria in 2014 and established a self-styled “caliphate” and a return to 7th-century justice, replete with public executions. By 2017, ISIS had been driven from holding any territory at all in Iraq. However, they continued to conduct terrorist attacks on the people and government facilities. They’ve been pushed into the remote areas of the desert and the mountains.