NZ could pull out of Iraq deployment

NZ's Jacinda Ardern has discussed the joint training mission in Iraq with PM Malcolm Turnbull. (AAP)

New Zealand may pull out of its joint Iraq training mission with Australia, however, the fight against Islamic State may soon be over.

Australia may lose New Zealand as a partner training Iraqi security forces to fight Islamic State militants next year.

New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern discussed the joint training mission with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Sydney on Sunday.

Australia and NZ have trained more than 26,000 Iraqi soldiers and police at Taji north of Baghdad.

Ms Ardern said her government will review NZ's commitment of just under 150 military personnel in November next year.

"We will look again at the circumstances when that mandate comes up again," she told reporters at Sydney airport before her departure.

"It's a complex conflict and things could change dramatically between now and then."

Former NZ Labour leader Andrew Little, who Ms Ardern replaced, has previously cast doubt on the benefits the country's role in Iraq and had vowed to bring the troops home.

Islamic State's self-proclaimed caliphate is on the verge of final defeat in Iraq and Syria.

IS has been squeezed into an ever-shrinking pocket of desert since it was driven this year from its two de facto capitals - Iraq's Mosul and Syria's Raqqa.

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced on Friday that government forces had captured al-Qaim, the border town where the Euphrates spills from Syria into Iraq.

That leaves just the village of Rawa further down river on the opposite bank still in the hands of IS, who swept through a third of Iraq in 2014.

On the Syrian side, government forces declared victory in Deir al-Zor, the last major city in the country's eastern desert where the militants still had a presence.

with Reuters

Source AAP

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