The United States (US) Army has set up two new military bases at Anbar, a western province of Iraq, days after Washington announced the pullout of American forces from Syria.
“The US Army has established two new military facilities in uninhabited parts of the province. Scores of US soldiers are currently stationed at the two bases, along with drones and other equipment,” Turkey's official Anadolu news agency quoted Farhan al-Duleimi, a member of Anbar’s provisional council, as saying Tuesday.
The first base had been established in the northern Rumana sub-district in al-Qaim district, in the vicinity of the Syrian border, some 360 kilometers west of the provincial capital Ramadi. The second US military base had been set up east of the city of al-Rutbah, about 310 kilometers west of Ramadi and less than 100 kilometers from the Syrian border, al-Duleimi added.
The central government in Baghdad and Washington have yet to comment on al-Duleimi’s statement, but if confirmed, the total number of US bases in Anbar will reach four.
The move comes less than a week after US President Donald Trump announced his unexpected decision to pull all the 2,000 American ground troops out of the war-ravaged Syria. He said on Wednesday that the withdrawal would be slow and gradual, without providing a timetable.
The official added that the American bases were purportedly intended to assist Iraqi forces “secure the country’s borders and prevent infiltrations by the Daesh terrorist group.”
Nearly 5,000 American troops have remained in Iraq since Washington, leading a military coalition, began its so-called anti-terror operations in the Arab country in 2014 with the declared aim of defeating the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, which managed to overrun roughly two-thirds of Iraq, mainly in the country’s north and west, in June that year.
Late last year, Baghdad declared that the military presence of Daesh in Iraq had come to an end following a three-year conflict that ended with the fall of the Daesh-held city of Mosul. The terror group lost all its urban strongholds in the Arab country but its remnants launch sporadic terror attacks against government troops and civilians alike.
Iraqi forces, however, continue counterterror operations against the Daesh “sleeper cells,” which purportedly remain active in certain parts of the country, the report added further.
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