US Special Forces transferred to Iraq’s Anbar province
19 Apr 2017 - 11:38
ANBAR, Iraq: U.S. Special Forces units have arrived at the Ain al-Assad Airbase in Iraq’s western Anbar province to help Iraqi forces recapture cities still held by the Islamic State terrorist group, according to a high-ranking Iraqi army officer.
"A large number of U.S. Special Forces units reached the Ain al-Assad Airbase in Anbar’s Al-Baghdadi district some 90 kilometers west of [provincial capital] Ramadi," an Iraqi army brigadier-general told Anadolu Agency.
The officer, who spoke anonymously due to restrictions on talking to media, did not provide an exact figure as to the number of Special Forces units involved.
According to the same source, the Special Forces units were brought by military convoy from Baghdad’s Al-Bakr Airbase to Anbar’s Ain al-Assad.
"They arrived fully-equipped to take part in the anticipated liberation of the cities of Anah, Rawa and Al-Qaim," he added.
In mid-2014, Iraqi security forces withdrew from the three cities, allowing IS to swiftly fill the vacuum.
Along with the arrival of U.S. Special Forces to the area, Iraqi forces and their local tribal allies have also begun preparations to retake the cities.
U.S.-led coalition forces had already maintained a presence in Anbar -- both at Ain al-Assad and the Al-Habbaniyah Airbase some 30 kilometers east of Ramadi.
At least 4,000 U.S. troops are now deployed in Iraq, where they are ostensibly training Iraqi security forces and serving as “advisors” in the war against IS.
U.S. forces are also providing artillery support to Iraqi troops now fighting for Mosul, regional capital of the northern Nineveh province, which IS also overran in mid-2014.