In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Estonian troops who had been deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Inherent Resolve since April were welcomed home after touching down at Ämari Air Base.
"The [Estonian] Defense Forces are back in Iraq at a company level," Maj. Gen. Veiko-Vello Palm, commander of the Estonian Division of the EDF, said according to a press release. "I believe that where there are Estonian soldiers, the situation is more stable and calm."
Upon their arrival, the returning troops were greeted by the commander of the Scouts Battalion, commander of the Estonian Division and Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform), who awarded them with mission medals — as well as loved ones.
"Participation in international military operations demonstrates Estonia's commitment to contributing to achieving peace and stability in the world," Pevkur said. "In doing so, we are also directly increasing Estonian security as well."
In the context of the war in Ukraine, Estonia must ensure that it supports the achievement of its closest allies' security policy goals in the wider world as well, he continued.
"I thank the loved ones of Estonian soldiers, whose support is absolutely essential," the minister underscored. "And of course members of the EDF, thanks to whom we can feel safe in Estonia."
Estcoy-18 returned home after successfully concluding their duties at @CJTFOIR in #Iraq. Commander of the Estonian Division MG Palm and MoD @HPevkur thanked them for their service alongside our @NATO allies.#NATO #NATOMissionIraq #OneMissionManyNations pic.twitter.com/f1WKQkAi2C— Estonian Defence Forces | Eesti Kaitsevägi (@Kaitsevagi) October 18, 2023
Click here to view the EDF's full album of their homecoming.
Estonia began contributing to Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq again this April. It has previously also participated in Operation Inherent Resolve, NATO Training Mission Iraq (NTM-I), NATO Mission Iraq (NMI) as well as Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).
Editor: Aili Vahtla