Troops with the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State began departing an air base in northern Iraq on Thursday, handing it over fully to the Iraqi military as part of a reduction of foreign forces in the country.
The overall drawdown will see coalition forces move into a smaller number of bases and reduce personnel. The coalition has not provided details or numbers.
Qayyara air base, south of the city of Mosul where Islamic State declared its caliphate in 2014, is the second base to be handed over to the Iraqis this month. Coalition troops left a base at al-Qaim on the Syrian border last week.
“The coalition will operate from fewer locations, but remains committed to supporting our partners in their fight against Daesh (Islamic States),” Brigadier General Vincent Barker of the coalition said in a statement.
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