US forces hand over Iraqi province

Babil, once wracked by sectarian violence, is 12th province to be handed over to Iraqi security control.

    'Security gains'

    Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, Iraq's national security adviser, said at the handover ceremony in Hilla that domestic security forces would soon take over the nearby province of Wasit from the US military.

    "I want to declare from Babil that Iraq will take over Wasit in the next few days and we hope to complete the transfer of the remaining provinces in the near future," al-Rubaie said.

    "Today the security forces of Babil are self-reliant and we are proud to take over Babil from US forces."

    The handover ceremony was attended by senior US officials, including Lieutenant-General Lloyd Austin, the number two commander of US forces in Iraq.

    With the transfer of the province, American forces will retreat to their bases and become involved in security operations only at the request of the provincial governor.

    Baghdad, Diyala, Salaheddin, Ninawa, Kirkuk and Wasit remain under US control.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    We foreigners: What it means to be Bengali in India's Assam

    We foreigners: What it means to be Bengali in India's Assam

    As tensions over India's citizenship law shine a light on Assam, a writer explores the historical tensions in the state.

    Sentenced to death for blasphemy: Surviving Pakistan's death row

    Sentenced to death for blasphemy: Surviving Pakistan's death row

    The story of a man who spent 19 years awaiting execution reveals the power of a false blasphemy claim to destroy a life.

    The Syrian women and girls sold into sexual slavery in Lebanon

    The Syrian women and girls sold into sexual slavery in Lebanon

    Syria's refugee crisis has shone a light on sex trafficking in Lebanon, where victims are often treated as criminals.