The US-led coalition will redeploy hundreds of troops from bases in Iraq, including to locations outside the country, coalition and US officials said on Tuesday. The announcement of the move came hours after another rocket attack targeted an Iraqi base where foreign troops were located, AFP reported. It was the 24th such attack in less than six months.
“The coalition is re-positioning troops from a few smaller bases,” said coalition spokesman Myles Caggins. The first redeployment was taking place on Tuesday from Qaim, the western base along the border with Syria, according to a coalition official.
“A transfer ceremony is taking place today to hand over the facilities to Iraqi forces, and the intent is that all coalition troops will be leaving Qaim,” the official said. “It’s historic,” he added, stating that about 300 US-led coalition troops would be moved out of the base.
Some had already been reportedly redeployed to coalition positions in neighboring war-ravaged Syria along with artillery, while others would be sent to other bases in Iraq or to Kuwait. Some 5,200 US forces are positioned across Iraq and form the bulk of the coalition set up in 2014 to help local forces battle Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).