US-led forces depart Iraqi military base near Mosul in drawdown - GulfToday

US-led forces depart Iraqi military base near Mosul in drawdown


Iraqi military officers attend a pullout ceremony at the Qayyarah air base in northern Iraq on Thursday. AFP

Troops with the US-led coalition fighting Daesh began departing an air base in northern Iraq on Thursday, handing it over fully to the Iraqi military as part of a reduction of foreign forces in the country.


Baghdads Green Zone attacked by two rockets

US resumes joint military operations in Iraq

The overall drawdown will see coalition forces move into a smaller number of bases and reduce personnel. The coalition has not provided details or numbers.

Qayyara air base, south of the city of Mosul where Daesh declared its caliphate in 2014, is the second base to be handed over to the Iraqis this month. Coalition troops left a base at Al Qaim on the Syrian border last week.

An Iraqi soldier walks at the Qayyarah air base before a planned US pullout on Thursday. Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP

"The coalition will operate from fewer locations, but remains committed to supporting our partners in their fight against Daesh," Brigadier General Vincent Barker of the coalition said in a statement.

Coalition officials say the troop cuts and relocation of units into fewer Iraqi bases is because Iraqi forces are mostly capable of containing the threat from leftover Daesh militants on their own.

The US-led coalition has supported the Iraqi military since 2014 in the fight to neutralise Daesh. A few thousand militants are believed to be remain active, mostly confined to remote areas such as desert and mountains across northern Iraq. They periodically attack security forces but have held no major territory like towns and cities since 2017.

The coalition currently deploys around 7,500 troops in Iraq, including 5,000 Americans.


Related articles