International coalition to relocate troops deployed in Iraq

Baghdad, March 19 (IANS) The anti-terror international coalition confirmed that it would relocate its troops deployed in Iraq and other countries in the Middle East, some of who will return home in the coming weeks.

“The troops will go to different bases in the region…Iraq, Syria, Kuwait…and some will go home in the coming weeks,” Myles B. Caggins III, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), told Efe news on Wednesday.

He did not reveal the name of the bases in question or the exact timing of the departure of the troops “due to operational security”.

“For instance, the heavy rains in Iraq slow things down. There are a variety of reasons why we will not announce transfers before they happen,” he continued.

On Tuesday, the international coalition handed over to Iraqi authorities the military base of al-Qaim located in the western province of Anbar, on the border with Syria.

The move came in the wake of “Iraq success in the fight against IS (Islamic State), in conjunction with partner forces and the government of Iraq, CJTF-OIR will relocate and consolidate personnel and equipment from several Iraqi bases throughout 2020”, the spokesman tweeted on Tuesday.

The coalition “will relocate and consolidate personnel and equipment from several Iraqi bases throughout 2020”, he said in a statement without providing details on the number of the bases or their location.

It “will continue anti-ISIS advising and training operations. The Coalition will operate from fewer locations but remains committed to supporting our partners”, the statement added.

The IS is still active in northern and central Iraq and launched sporadic attacks although it was territorially defeated in 2017, after losing control of vast regions it had seized in 2014.

The presence of international troops in Iraq was in doubt after a US drone attack on January 3 killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani near Baghdad.

In the wake of the attack, Iraq’s Parliament and government urged foreign troops to leave the country.

International troops deployed in several Iraqi bases have been attacked on several occasions.

On March 11, two US military and a British soldier were killed in a missile attack on the Taji military base, 30 km north of Baghdad.



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