US-led coalition forces hand K1 military base to Iraqi forces

Baghdad, March 30 (IANS) The US-led international coalition forces, tasked with fighting the Islamic State (IS) terror group, withdrew from the K1 military base in Kirkuk and handed over to the Iraqi forces.

“The Iraqi forces took over the K1 base from the international coalition forces in the presence of the representative of the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi forces and other military commanders in the province,” an Iraqi army officer told Xinhua news agency on Sunday.

“The international coalition forces had departed the base and the K1 base now is under full control of the Iraqi forces,” the officer said.

A coalition spokesman said that the troops departed the compound inside K1 airbase in coordination with the Iraqi government, asserting that the coalition forces will support Iraq from fewer places with fewer troops.

The military base is the third that Iraq has received from the international coalition forces in March after the coalition forces withdrew from the military bases of al-Qaim and al-Qayyara.

On January 5, the Iraqi Parliament passed a resolution requiring the government to end the presence of foreign forces in the country, just two days after an American drone attack in Baghdad which killed Qasem Soleimani, former commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Revolution Guards Corps.

Over 5,000 US troops have been deployed in Iraq to support the country's forces in battles against the IS, mainly for training and advisory purposes.

The troops were part of the US-led international coalition that has also been conducting air raids against IS targets also in Syria.



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