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FILE PHOTO: U.S. army forces participate in combat training in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil, December 22, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

(reuters_tickers)

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - U.S. forces will stay in Iraq "as long as needed" to help stabilise regions previously controlled by Islamic State, a spokesman for the U.S.-led international coalition fighting the militants said on Sunday.

"We'll keep troops there as long as we think they're needed ... The main reason, after ISIS (Islamic State) is defeated militarily is the stabilization efforts and we still need to be there for that, so that's one of the reasons we'll maintain a presence," Colonel Sean Ryan told a news conference in Abu Dhabi.

(Reporting Tuqa Khalid; Writing by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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Reuters