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US-led coalition forces withdraw from Iraqi base

A coalition of U.S.-led military forces have withdrawn from an Iraqi military base as part of a plan to hand control of the region over to Iraq’s government.

Reuters reported Sunday that coalition forces departed the Taji military base, located about 12 miles north of Baghdad, while a few remained behind to finalize the transfer of some equipment to Iraqi security forces.

“The movement of coalition military personnel is part of a long-range plan coordinated with the government of Iraq,” coalition forces said in a statement to Reuters.

While the U.S. and other countries joined forces to battle extremists affiliated with ISIS following the group’s emergence and territorial gains in 2014, the forces at Taji had in recent months been faced with attacks from Iran-backed militias in the region, according to Reuters.

The U.S. has launched airstrikes and other attacks aimed at those militias, including one airstrike near Baghdad’s airport that killed a top Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani, earlier this year.

Soleimani’s death was condemned by Iran but touted by the Trump administration as the elimination of a threat to U.S. forces in the region.

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