Baghdad (TS) – The United States (U.S.) has withdrawn its forces Sunday from a military base in the northern Iraqi province of Kirkuk, according to a statement released by the U.S. led coalition in the Middle East.
Three hundred coalition personnel left the K1 base and handed it over to Iraq’s security forces. It is the third facility transferred by Washington to the Iraqi Army this month.
Coalition spokesman Col. Myles Caggins said the coalition’s goal of battling the Islamic State (ISIS) has been “successful,” adding the coalition troops would be “repositioned to other locations to continue the anti-ISIS partnership.”
The U.S.-led forces started last month to quit some military bases in Iraq, to confine their presence to two key locations, the one near the city of Erbil in northern Iraq and Ain al-Asad airbase in the Anbar province some 180 kilometers west of Baghdad.
Those two bases were struck on Jan. 7 by dozens of Irani missiles in a retaliatory offensive for the killing of Major-General Qassem Soleimani. Although the U.S. reported that no personel was injured at the time to downplay the strike, hundreds of cases of soldiers with traumatic brain injuries were recorded.
On Jan. 5, the Iraqi Parliament convened to vote on a resolution that called for the expulsion of all the U.S. Armed Forces from the country. Since it was passed in the absence of several leading parliamentary factions, they argue this resolution is illegitimate and unbinding and its legality is yet to be confirmed by the country’s Federal Supreme Court.
Right after the decision, backed by millions in Iraq, U.S. President Donald Trump warned the country that they could face sanctions if they force the U.S. military to withdraw. The Pentagon has continuously refused to abide by Iraq’s decision.
The U.S. military has had a military presence inside of Iraq since the 2003 invasion that led to the overthrow of then-President Saddam Hussein and his government. While former President Barack Obama did ‘officially’ end the Iraq War in 2010, some 5,200 troops remained in an advisory role.
These troops are based in several parts of the country, including the Al-Anbar and Nineveh provinces that border neighboring Syria. The U.S. has used these bases in Nineveh and Al-Anbar to reinforce and resupply their forces inside Syria as they continue operations against ISIS.
This post was originally written for and published by teleSUR English and appears here with permission.
Image: The White House