The United States-led international coalition has completed major combat operations in Iraq against the ‘Islamic State’ (also known as ISIS), the U.S. Department of Defense reported on its website.
The report stated that on Monday, April 30, Coalition headquarters were closed at a ceremony in Baghdad. The U.S. Department of Defense noted that this closure acknowledges the changing composition and responsibilities of the Coalition, which will evolve from supporting and enabling combat operations to training and developing self-sufficient Iraqi security-related skills.
During the ceremony, Major General Walter Piatt, the ex-Commander of the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command in Iraq, stated that “thanks to our partnered success” with allies, the Coalition will continue to support the government of Iraq.
Representatives of Iraq’s military claimed that the Coalition has served an integral role in Iraq’s success against ISIS. “The commitment and professionalism of all the men and women from all the Coalition nations has been of the highest order,” one of the military representatives stated. “Iraq is immensely grateful for their [the Coalition’s] sacrifice and dedication in this task.”
In February, U.S. President Donald Trump claimed that Washington had triumphed over the “Islamic State.” According to him, the international coalition has freed nearly 100% of territories occupied by militants in Iraq and Syria. At the end of March, Trump stated that American troops will be withdrawn from Syria once the “Islamic State” is eliminated.
“We are kicking the hell out of ISIS,” Trump stated. “We will soon leave Syria.”
However, on Thursday, April 26, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis stated that the U.S. military would not leave the Syrian Arab Republic, instead continuing to strengthen its fight against ISIS. In addition, he unveiled plans to increase operations against militants at the Syrian-Iraqi border.