US establishes new military center in Kurdistan

WASHINGTON (Rudaw) — The United States on Wednesday established a new Joint Coalition Coordination Center (JCCC) near Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region, to coordinate efforts in countering the Islamic State, the US Central Command said in a Thursday statement.

“The JCCC will facilitate closer collaboration between the Combined Joint Operations Command-Baghdad and the Combined Joint Operations Command-Erbil to fight Daesh across all of northern Iraq,” said CENTCOM in the statement, using Daesh, the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

The statement said that the Ninewa Operations Center, which was established in Baghdad last year to orchestrate military plans and to train Sunnis as a part of preparations to retake Mosul, will also be moved to the Kurdistan region within the JCCC.

“The new center will also set the conditions to relocate the Ninewa Operations Center from Baghdad to northern Iraq to coordinate future operations in Ninewa and Mosul,” the statement said.

CENTCOM said the new military center reaffirms Washington’s commitment to security forces in Northern Iraq in order to defeat ISIS.

“The establishment of the JCCC is another tangible sign of the united effort of governmental security forces across northern Iraq and the coalition working together towards the shared goal of defeating Daesh and returning stability to the region,” the statement said.

Equal numbers of representatives from the government of Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government and coalition forces will be stationed at the JCCC in Erbil.

The US has deployed nearly 3,500 military advisors and trainers to assist, train and advise Iraqi security forces, including Peshmerga and Sunni tribal forces, in order to degrade and defeat ISIS.

By Saeed Yerevan