(AFP) – Oct 7, 2008
BAGHDAD (AFP) — Armenia has withdrawn its contingent of 46 soldiers from Iraq, further shrinking the US-led coalition forces, the American military said on Tuesday.
The unit of the former Soviet republic brought its operations to a close on Monday with a ceremony at Camp Victory in Baghdad, a statement said.
Armenia sent troops to Iraq in January 2005.
Since then, it has worked in support of the Polish Brigade, which formally ended its mission in Iraq on Saturday and announced that its 900 soldiers will complete their withdrawal from the country by the end of this month.
"The Armenian armed forces have rotated 380 personnel through Iraq and have provided first-class support to Operation Iraq Freedom in the areas of transportation, engineering and medicine," US Marine Corps Major General Paul Lefebvre said.
Armenian military chief in Iraq, Commander Ruben Papyan, said they were pleased to have served in the US-led coalition.
"It has been our honor to serve under your command and to know and to work with you in the filtering of peace and democracy in Iraq," Papyan said at the official ceremony.
In May 2003, two months after the US invasion, the occupying force was made up of 150,000 Americans and 23,000 other troops from 40 countries. Now, US numbers are around 144,000, while the coalition has shrunk to less than 10,000.
The non-US element of the coalition is now made of Britain, Romania, El Salvador, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Albania, Mongolia, Czech Republic, Macedonia, Tonga, Lithuania, Bosnia, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Latvia and Moldova.
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