Thousands more Iraqi soldiers taken prisoner

  • Press Trust of India, PTI, Southern Iraq
  • |
  • Updated: Mar 22, 2003 12:36 IST

Thousands more Iraqi soldiers were taken prisoner after an overnight battle with advancing US army troops in southern Iraq, an officer said on Saturday.

Captain Andrew Valles, spokesman for the First Brigade of the Third Infantry Division, said troops of Iraq's 11th Division gave up after the encounter near the Euphrates River.

"Thousands of Iraqis were forced to surrender," he told AFP.

US forces invading Iraq to oust President Saddam Hussein have not expected much fight from Iraq's regular army, which is comprised mostly of conscripts with little reason to stay loyal to Baghdad.

Pentagon officials in Washington said earlier that a full Iraqi army division, which normally counts 8,000 to 10,000 soldiers, had surrendered in southern Iraq yesterday.

They said the commander and deputy commander of the 51st Mechanized Division had given themselves up to US Marines at an undisclosed location while their men lay down their weapons and surrendered.

The US and British troops expect the going to be tougher when they come up against Iraq's elite Republican Guard.


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