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Still, U.S. officials have been reviewing diplomatic and military options to halt the violence in Syria.

“We are going to continue to keep the pressure up, and are looking for every tool available to prevent the slaughter of innocents in Syria,” President Obama said Feb. 24.

Iranian influence has grown in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion forced the ouster of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, with Tehran providing monetary aid and other assistance to Baghdad.

Iran is also Syria’s closest, longtime ally in the region. During the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, Syria sided with Iran. Both Syria and Iran support the Islamic militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon, and both are considered enemies of Israel.

Although there is a small U.S. military presence in Iraq, most U.S. troops exited the region precipitously last year, when negotiations on immunity for U.S. troops broke down.

Only a few hundred military personnel remain in Iraq, along with about 500 security contractors and thousands of staffers at the U.S. Embassy.