London, Mar.31 (ANI): British Major General Andy Salmon of the Royal Marines will hand control of coalition forces in Basra to his American counterpart Major General Michael Oates at the end of the week.
Since the 2003 invasion, which toppled Saddam Hussein, 179 British personnel have lost their lives and many more have been injured in Iraq.
But the security situation in Basra has improved significantly since a major Iraqi Army-led operation against militias in the city this time last year known as Charge of the Knights.
British combat operations in Iraq end on May 31 and all but about 400 of the remaining UK troops will be withdrawn by July 31.
Major General Salmon, Britain's most senior commander in Iraq, will return to the UK this week after the transfer of military command to the Americans. (ANI)