US Forces prepare K1 Air Base transfer to Iraqi military 160320 CREDIT US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE.jpg

US-Led Forces Pull Out Of Third Iraqi Base This Month

US-led forces have already withdrawn from the Qayara base in Nineveh province and the Qaim base near the border with Syria.

US Forces prepare K1 Air Base transfer to Iraqi military 160320 CREDIT US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE.jpg

The United States-led coalition in Iraq has withdrawn from a third military base this month. 

The move is in line with US plans to consolidate its troops in two locations in the country - a base in Baghdad and the Ain al-Asad Air Base. 

According to a coalition statement, the K1 Air Base in the northern province of Kirkuk was handed over to the Iraqi military. 

At least $1.1 million dollars of equipment were also given to the Iraqis as 300 coalition personnel departed. 

A rocket attack on the base in late December killed one American contractor and led to a series of tit-for-tat attacks between the US and Iran-backed Iraqi militia groups. 

The attacks culminated in the US killing of top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

K1 Air Base has hosted coalition personnel since 2017 and has been used to launch operations against the so-called Islamic State (IS) in nearby mountainous areas.

Areas surrounding the base remain hotbeds of IS activity.

Military vehicles being transported out of K1 Air Base in Iraq ahead of drawdown 210320 CREDIT US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Coalition vehicles are transported out of K1 Air Base ahead of the withdrawal (Picture: US Department of Defense).

The stretch of territory is disputed between the Iraqi government and the autonomous Kurdish region, with the coalition's presence at times serving as a mediating force.

Earlier this month, three coalition service members, including British soldier Lance Corporal Brodie Gillon, were killed in an attack on Camp Taji near Baghdad.

Last week, it was announced that a number of British military personnel would be withdrawing from the country.

The UK has been training Iraqi forces as part of the US-led coalition since 2014 but the mission has been on hold for more than 60 days due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Until last month, there were some 7,500 coalition troops based in Iraq, including 5,000 US forces.

Cover image: American forces prepare to leave K1 Air Base (Picture: US Department of Defense).