U.S.-led coalition forces hand K1 military base to Iraqi forces


The international coalition forces, tasked with fighting the Islamic State (IS) militant group, withdrew on Sunday from the K1 military base in Iraq’s northern province of Kirkuk.

“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 on condition of anonymity.

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

On the other side, a U.S.-led coalition spokesman said in a tweet that the troops departed the compound inside K1 airbase in coordination with the Iraqi government, asserting that the coalition troops 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 in western Iraq and al-Qayyara in northern the country.

On Jan. 5, the Iraqi parliament passed a resolution requiring the government to end the presence of foreign forces in Iraq, just two days after a U.S. drone strike on a convoy at Baghdad airport, which killed Qassem Soleimani, former commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolution Guards Corps.

Over 5,000 U.S. troops have been deployed in Iraq to support Iraqi forces in battles against the IS, mainly for training and advisory purposes.

The troops were part of the U.S.-led international coalition that has also been conducting air raids against IS targets in both Iraq and Syria.