The US-led coalition forces led by the United States officially transferred K1 Air Base in the northern Iraqi province of Kirkuk to the Iraqi Armed Forces on Sunday, Brig. Gen. Vincent Barker, the sustainment director of combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) said.
“K1 has served as a critical location for the Coalition, the ISF and Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service in the fight to find and destroy ISIS safe havens in the rugged Hamrin Mountains. It will continue to be a key location in our partnered efforts to eliminate the evils of Daesh [Islamic State terror group, IS, or ISIS, banned in Russia]. Today’s transfer was coordinated with the Government of Iraq and is possible thanks to the efforts and successes of our ISF partners,” Barker said.
The coalition cited a successful campaign against Daesh* by the Iraqi military as the reason behind the transfer of K1 and said that the move was pre-planned and unrelated to the spread of COVID-19 in the Middle Eastern country or recent attacks by Shiite militias against Iraqi bases hosting foreign troops.
CJTF-OIR is set to continue relocations, but will remain in Iraq and continue to fight against Daesh, the statement said. Nonetheless, the activities of the coalition are currently paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The transfer of equipment to Iraqi forces on the K1 airbase will be complete in the next few days, according to CJTF-OIR.