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Impacts of US withdrawal from Qaim base in Iraqi border with Syria

US forces pulled out of the strategic Qaim area on the Iraqi-Syrian border in mid-March, citing success in preventing IS resurgence; locals agree that the Islamic State presence has been significantly weakened but warn the move may lead to nonstate actors gaining more power over official Iraqi security forces.

The United States handed over its base near a disused train station in Qaim, along the Iraqi-Syrian border, to Iraqi security forces March 17, almost 2½ years after the international coalition helped Iraqi forces retake the city from the Islamic State (IS).

The city has long been seen as key to influence in this strategic area, with Iranian-backed militias in control just across the border in the Syrian city of Albu Kamal south of the Euphrates River and US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in control of Syria's Deir ez-Zor region north of it.

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