Shaykh Mazhar Air Base
|Shaykh Mazhar Air Base|
Shaykh Mazhar Air Base is a former Iraqi Air Force base in the Wasit Governorate of Iraq approximately 46 kilometers southwest of Baghdad, and about 13 kilometers west of the city of Al-Suwaira. It was captured by Coalition forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
Shaykh Mazhar Air Base was one of several Iraqi Air Force airfields in the mid-1970s which were re-built under project "Super-Base" in response to the experiences from Six-Day War in 1967 and Arab-Israeli War of 1973.
Very little is known about this facility, except that it was operational already in the early 1980s, and usually had at least a squadron of MiG-21s or MiG-23s, which were instrumental in the defence of Baghdad against Iranian air raids. Nevertheless, together with Ubaydah Bin Al Jarrah Air Base, Salman Pak was in the middle of an area full of military installations - including several ammunition depots (also two used for storage of chemical weapons at earlier times) - and during the 1990s it had a squadron of Shenyang F-7 and MiG-23 fighters.
The base was heavily attacked by Coalition aircraft during Operation Desert Storm in January 1991, and seized by Coalition ground forces in February 1991. It was abandoned by the Iraqi Air Force after the cease fire in late February.
Current aerial imagery shows that the operational structures around the airfield appear to have been demolished and removed. Today the concrete runway and series of taxiways remain exposed and deteriorating to the elements, being reclaimed by the desert.