Baghdad- Information revealed on Tuesday that Qayyarah Airfield West, a former Iraqi Air Force base in the Qayyarah subdistrict of Mosul District in Nineveh Governorate, Iraq, is being rehabilitated in preparation to be used as a permanent U.S. airbase, in coordination with Iraqi government.
A well-informed Iraqi politician told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, speaking under conditions of anonymity, that Washington, for months now had been leading a number of contracting operations directed as to reconstruct and equip Qayyarah airbase.
Most of the contracting is being assigned to foreign companies. Reconstruction is taking place post special agreements reached at the U.S. embassy in Kuwait.
The Iraqi politician further said that U.S.’ 101st Airborne Division (“Screaming Eagles”)- an elite modular specialized light infantry division of the United States Army trained for air assault operations- will make nest in the strategic Qayyarah airbase.
The politician went on revealing that the U.S. had already transferred droves of newly developed equipment to the airbase- the gear is assumed to not have been used by the U.S. army before.
United States Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s recent visit to Baghdad was to accommodate for the new measures needed and agreements for the revival of the Qayyarah airbase, the politician added.
The airbase was recently freed from ISIS hold, with in advances within the Mosul liberation offensive led by the Iraqi Army.
The air base, situated west of the town of Qayyarah, is significantly larger than the base at Makhmour.
Known to U.S. troops as Qayyarah Airfield West during the Iraq War, it includes at least one runway long enough to fly heavy cargo planes and room to fly numerous helicopters. It served as the site of a U.S. brigade headquarters known as Forward Operating Base Endurance during the last war.
Iraqi’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had reiterated the importance of the international community’s undivided attention to Iraq in the scope of fighting terrorism. Abadi, meeting with Carter lauded the efforts spent by Iraqi forces in freeing Fallujah and in fighting terrorism in Iraq.
Carter confirmed that U.S. support will be provided to the Iraqi government as to bolster Iraq’s efforts in fighting ISIS.
Iraqi officials, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat extoled the role played by U.S. forces in the fight against ISIS, especially in the rapid response to demanded air support.