UK troops begin withdrawal from Iraq

By staff

British troops will begin officially withdrawing from Iraq today, when military command in the south of the country is passed onto US forces.

Major General Andy Salmon will transfer authority in the south of Iraq over to US Major General Michael Oates as part of the withdrawal from the region.

Of the 4,000 British troops currently stationed in the country, the majority are due to leave by May 31st, leaving around 400 to continue training up Iraqi security forces.

Since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, 179 British personnel have been killed in fighting, as UK forces sought to bring stability to southern regions and the city of Basra.

Maj Gen Salmon, Britain’s most senior commander in Iraq, is set to return to the UK later this week after handing over military command to the United States forces.

Admitting the campaign in Iraq had had both “ups” and “downs”, he declared the transferral of authority to the US military marked a “successful conclusion to a long campaign”.

“I can put my hand on my heart and say we’ve finished this right,” he said.