Iraq still needs Coalition's anti-IS airstrikes, military spox says after foreign combat troops leave

Iraq still needs Coalition's anti-IS airstrikes, military spox says after foreign combat troops leave
2 min read
31 December, 2021
Iraq still needs airstrikes from the US-led coalition to snuff out what remains of the Islamic State group, a military spokesperson said Friday, a few days after combat troops from the coalition led the country
The US-led coalition aided local forces in Iraq and Syria in their fight against the Islamic State [Getty-file photo]

Iraq still needs airstrikes from the US-led coalition to snuff out what remains of the Islamic State group, a military spokesperson said a few days after combat troops from the coalition left the country.

The Iraqi forces need strengthening and support "especially in the air force, air defense, army aviation and intelligence system fields," The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported spokesman Yehia Rasool as saying.

Iraq particularly needs the coalition's aviation to carry out strikes on IS remnants on the Iraq-Syria border, Rasool said.

The Iraqi government said Wednesday that all combat troops from the US-led coalition had left the country.

Coalition advisory personnel will stay at the Ain al-Asad and Harir air bases, Rasool said.

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The US-led coalition aided local forces in Iraq and Syria in their fight against IS, an extremist group that tore through and seized control of swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014.

Iraq declared IS defeated in the country in December 2017. However, the group has been able to maintain a sleeper cell presence in parts of northern and western Iraq, and has conducted a number of deadly attacks targeting federal and Iraqi Kurdish security forces in recent weeks.

Lieutenant-General Qassem Muhammad al-Muhammadi, commander of Iraq's ground forces, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed in an interview published Friday that IS posed the greatest threat in Diyala province, in some Kurdish areas of the country, and on the Iraq-Syria border.

Al-Muhammadi said most airstrikes on IS targets are conducted by the Iraqi F-16s, but that the coalition plays an important role in monitoring IS' activity on the Iraq-Syria border.