France withdraws its troops from Iraq due to the coronavirus pandemic

Iraqi guard holds an automatic rifle outside the Sunni Muslim Abu Hanifa mosque in central Baghdad during Friday prayers, October 3, 2003. (File photo: Reuters)

France will withdraw its contingent of troops from Iraq, mostly trainers to local armed forces, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the chief of staff said on Wednesday.

France has around 200 military personnel working in Iraq either as trainers or in the headquarters of coalition forces in Baghdad.

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"In coordination with the Iraqi government, the coalition has decided to adjust its deployments in Iraq and provisionally suspend training activities," it said in a statement.

The UK defense ministry had already announced some of its troops would come home, citing a "reduced requirement for training" Iraqi security forces.

Iraq's military had halted all training in early March to minimize the risk of the illness spreading among its forces, including from the US-led coalition helping fight remnants of ISIS.

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Last Update: 23:28 KSA 02:28 - GMT 23:28
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