Iraq to take over Anbar security

By Xinhua,

Baghdad : The Iraqi troops are set to take over the security of Anbar province, previously a nightmare battleground to the U.S. force, a local police officer said Monday.

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“I think it will be at the end of this month or the beginning of next month,” the officer said on condition of anonymity.

He said the handover was planned for Monday, but the U.S. military asked to put it off.

Anbar would be the tenth of Iraq’s 18 provinces to return to the control of Iraqi security forces. It would also be the first Sunni-dominated province to be handed over by the coalition forces.

Anbar is also the country’s largest province, expanding from Baghdad all the way west to the borders with Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Once a heartland of Sunni insurgents, the province has seen some of the bloodiest combats since the invasion of the U.S.-led forces in 2003, including two large-scale U.S. military raids on the city of Fallujah in 2004.

A total of 1,295 coalition troops died in the province in the past more than five years, next only to the death toll of 1,308 in Baghdad, according to the I casualties, a Website following the coalition casualties.

Situation began to go in favor of the U.S. military after the Sunnis shifted side and turned their guns on al-Qaida members in 2006 because they opposed to the indiscriminate terror attacks on civilians.