The U.S.-led international coalition has transferred the Al Taqaddum Air Base (TQ), located around 80 kilometers west of Baghdad, to the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF).
The transfer ceremony was conducted by the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) at the base on April 4.
“Due to Iraqi Security Forces’ success in the campaign against Daesh, the Coalition is adjusting its positioning in Iraq. These military movements are long-planned in coordination with the Government of Iraq. These pre-planned base transfers are not related to recent attacks against Iraqi bases hosting Coalition troops, or the ongoing COVID-19 situation in Iraq”, said a statement released by the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).
Since 2015, Al Taqaddum Air Base has hosted the U.S. and other Coalition forces who trained Iraqi Security Forces and acted as advisors in the Iraqi operations center in support of the fight against ISIS. TQ was primarily operated by U.S. Marines but also hosted Italian, Canadian, and Spanish forces. In early 2016, Coalition advisors supported the Iraqi Army in its recapture of Ramadi and Fallujah from ISIS control.
The departing coalition units from the base are:
• U.S. Marine Corps: Task Force Anbar, I Marine Expeditionary Force; and 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.
• U.S. Army: Military Working Dog Team; Forward Logistics Element; Forward Surgical Team; and Unmanned Aerial Surveillance platoon, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team.
• U.S. Air Force: 442nd Air Expeditionary Squadron.
• Spanish special operations forces
• Italian Carabieneri
• Canadian Armed Forces
“The transfer of Taqaddum (Habbaniya) air base is another step forward in the ongoing partnership between Iraqi Security Forces and the anti-ISIS international military Coalition,” said Brig. Gen. Vincent Barker, CJTF-OIR director of sustainment. “Over the last month we have transferred four bases to full ISF control. This wouldn’t be possible without the ISF’s proven capability to bring the fight to ISIS. The Coalition will continue to support our partners against the evils of Daesh.”
According to CENTCOM, CJTF-OIR will relocate and consolidate personnel and equipment from several Iraqi bases throughout 2020.
“The ISF increasingly conducts independent operations in the fight against Daesh and the defense of their homeland including the 2020 “Heroes of Iraq” and 2019’s “Will of Victory” campaigns. CJTF-OIR remains in Iraq at the invitation of the Government of Iraq and continues anti-ISIS advising. Currently, training operations are temporarily paused due to COVID-19 precautions. The Coalition will operate from fewer locations, but remains committed to supporting our partners in their fight against Daesh”, said the CENTCOM statement.