22 Oct 2011

US troops will withdraw from Iraq by year-end

11:13 am on 22 October 2011

United States President Barack Obama says America's war in Iraq is over and all US troops will be out of Iraq by the end of the year.

A 2011 deadline for complete troop withdrawal was set during the term of former President George Bush but it has been the subject of an ongoing debate.

Mr Obama said in a televised announcement on Friday that the final troops would return with their heads held high and with the backing of the American people.

The withdrawal marks a major milestone in the war that started in 2003 and resulted in the removal of Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq, the BBC reports.

About 39,000 US troops remain in Iraq, down from 165,000 in 2008.

Iraqi leaders had wanted 5,000 US troops to remain in a training capacity.

Barack Obama says discussions will continue with Iraqi leaders about how the US can continue to help train Iraqi forces.

There have been 4,408 American military deaths in Iraq since March 2003, according to the American Department of Defense.