Iraqi troops formally take security lead in northwest
Al KASIK MILITARY TRAINING BASE, Iraq — Iraqi army commanders formally assumed control of a wide swath of territory in northwest Iraq Monday following a transfer of authority ceremony at an Iraqi military academy near Mosul.
Maj. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon, commander of the 25th Infantry Divison’s Task Force Lightning, signed documents authorizing the Iraqi Army’s 3rd Infantry Division to operate on its own throughout much of Ninawa Province’s relatively peaceful west. The territory includes a long stretch of the Syrian border and the north’s only legal port of entry, Rabiyah.
The territory also includes the ancient city of Tal Afar, which the 3rd Infantry Division helped recapture from insurgents during a pitched battle in September 2005. The division is the second of four northern Iraq units to fall under control of the Iraqi Ground Forces Command.
The division falls under the command of Maj. Gen. Khorsheed Saleem Hassan Muhammad al-Dosky.
While the 3rd Iraqi Army division now has full operational control of forces in this area, U.S. troops will continue to back the unit with advice and logistical and combat support, Mixon said.