Four defense force members serving in Iraq to return to Estonia

Estonian Defence Forces in Iraq.
Estonian Defence Forces in Iraq. Source: Ministry of Defence.

Four of the seven members of the Estonian Defence Forces who were stationed in Iraq will return to Estonia, it was announced on Tuesday, after their training duties were suspended by increased tensions in the region.

Last week the six-strong team, which had been training Iraqi police officers, and a colonel Tõnu Miil were moved to Kuwait after tensions in the region rose after the U.S. killed a high ranking Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike.

Four of the six members of the training team will return to Estonia. Two members of the training team will stay in Kuwait and work alongside the Danes. Col. Miil, who is serving in Operation Inherent Resolve, will also stay behind.

Maj. Gen. Indrek Sirel said: "As the rotation of training team is coming to an end and they are currently unable to perform their duties in Iraq, the Commander of the Defense Forces has decided to recall some of them. One of the tasks of the Defense Forces who will stay is to prepare for the arrival of the next rotation from Estonia."

Sirel said that the next Estonian Defense Forces training team is prepared and ready to begin service as soon as Operation Inherent Resolve resumes.

The Estonian Defense Forces is participating in the US-led international military Operation Inherent Resolve with a six-member training team and one senior officer in an international military-strategic team who is advising Iraqi ministries and security forces.

The purpose of Inherent Resolve is direct and supportive military action against Daesh (ISIS), and by participating in the operation, Estonia is increasing the security of Europe and NATO. 


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Editor: Helen Wright

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