US Troops Leave Second Base in Iraq

The United States forces have left the Al Qayara air base, located in the surroundings of the Iraqi city of Mosul, which amounts to two installations from which they have withdrawn. during the last week.

Myles Caggins, spokesman for the coalition headed by Washington, has indicated through his account on the social network Twitter that control of the base has been transferred to the Iraqi Defense Ministry.

“This transfer, planned long ago, has been coordinated with the Iraqi security forces due to its successes in the campaign against the Islamic State,” he said.

The coalition has released an information graphic detailing that there were about 800 troops and $1.7 million worth of equipment at the base.

For its part, the Iraqi Defense Ministry has highlighted via Twitter that “the Iraq Air Force assumes full command of the Al Qayara base in Nineveh after the withdrawal of the coalition forces.”

The base was occupied in 2014 by the Islamic State and recaptured by Iraqi forces during the 2016 offensive against the jihadist group.

Since then it has served as a launching post for attacks during operations against the Islamic State in Iraq.

The transfer of control of this base came a day after the Iraqi Army assured that France had withdrawn the troops it had integrated into the international coalition.

In addition, US forces abandoned the al-Qaim base near the Syrian border last week, in what the Iraqi Army described as a first step toward the departure of all of its troops from the country.

The base had been used by the United States-led coalition since 2017 to train and advise Iraqi security forces in the fight against the Islamic State jihadist group.

It was also used to carry out air operations against jihadists in what was their last stronghold in Syria, the town of Baghuz, from where they were finally expelled in March 2019 by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDS).

The coalition claimed that the withdrawal of al-Qaim forces and their surrender to the Iraqi forces was due to “the successes in the fight against the Islamic State”, while stressing that it “will relocate and consolidate personnel and equipment from various bases during 2020”.

Iraq’s parliament passed a motion in January demanding the withdrawal of international troops after the death of General Qasem Soleimani, head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, in a US-led bombardment of Baghdad.

The government temporarily suspended coordination against the coalition, which was resumed several weeks later to continue operations against the Islamic State, which has recently increased its attacks in the country.






Source: Elpais