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The New Arab Staff

US troops hand over military base near Baghdad to Iraqi forces

US and coalition troops are leaving the Taji base [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 August, 2020

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US-led international coalition forces have handed over control of the important Taji military base near Baghdad to Iraqi security forces.
US-led international coalition forces withdrew from the Taji military base near Baghdad on Sunday, handing control to Iraqi security forces.

Taji is the most prominent of the military bases where US troops were based and has often targeted by pro-Iran militia groups outside the Iraqi government's control.

It lies 25 kilometres north of Baghdad and is the eighth site that has been transferred to Iraqi security forces this year, in accordance with a redeployment schedule agreed by the Iraqi government and the US-led international coalition.

Most of the two thousand coalition troops previously based in Taji have already departed.

Read also: Iraq still in chaos 17 years after US invasion

US coalition spokesperson Col. Myles Caggins III described the handover of the Taji base as an "important day".

"We are making these transitions because the Iraqi security forces are successful against Daesh," he said, in a reference to the Islamic State extremist group.

The remaining coalition troops will leave within the next few days after overseeing the handing over of equipment to Iraqi forces. Caggins said that over 347 million dollars of property, equipment, and training facilities needed to be transferred.

The US currently has approximately 5,000 troops in Iraq, while its coalition allies have about 2,500. US President Donald Trump on Thursday reiterated a promise to withdraw all US troops from Iraq, saying they would be "leaving shortly".

Early in 2020, the Iraqi parliament called for the departure of all coalition troops from the country, following the January 3rd US airstrike which killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) militia leader Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandes.

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