U.S.-led Coalition Hands Over Key Base To Iraqi Forces (Photos)

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The U.S.-led coalition announced on March 26 that it is handing over the al-Qayyarah Air Base to the Ministry of Defense of Iraq.

A spokesman for the coalition, Col. Myles B. Caggins III, said hundreds of coalition troops will “temporarily” evacuate the base as a protective measure to prevent coronavirus widespread.

“The Coalition is in Iraq at the invitation of the Government of Iraq to defeat Daesh [ISIS] remnants—this is our only purpose. Period. In fact, we’re transferring bases to the Ministry of Defense of Iraq and 100s of training troops are departing temporarily for COVID-19 safety,” the spokesman wrote on Twitter.

According to the spokesman, the handover of the al-Qayyarah Air Base to the Iraqi military was “long-planned” and a result of “success in the campaign against ISIS.”

Approximately 800 troops of the U.S.-led coalition were located in the airbase, which hosted $1,7 million of coalition equipment.

A day earlier, the Iraqi military announced that French troops operating in the framework of the U.S.-led coalition have withdrawn from the country.

The U.S.-led coalition is clearly moving to minimize its presence in Iraq. While the COVID-19 pandemic and success against ISIS are being presented as the only reasons behind this move, other factors may be involved. Most notably, the recent wave of rocket attacks on coalition bases in the country.



from https://southfront.org/u-s-led-coalition-hands-over-key-base-to-iraqi-forces-photos/

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