US Marines secure Iraq's western flank
US Marines on Saturday secured the western flank of the front line in the invasion of Iraq with officers saying their strategy is on schedule.
Marines have taken a large swathe of southern Iraq to the west of the Euphrates River, about 150 km north of the Kuwaiti border.
This includes the strategic highway 8, a major four-lane access route, as well as its side roads.
"Everything has gone to plan. We're on schedule for what we want to do," Lieutenant Joshua Lyons told AFP.
He said the force consisted of different elements from the Marines, including Regimental Combat Team One.
He said that the troops had encountered little resistance and taken many prisoners.
At one camp, four prisoners who appeared to be Iraqi soldiers were faced down in the dust under Marine guard while groups of other Iraqis were being escorted along the road toward the camp.
"That's four less Iraqis we have to be worried about and from what we're hearing there are plenty more coming in," Lyons said.
Tens of thousands of US and British troops have poured into Iraq from the Kuwait border, pushing north towards Baghdad with the aim of unseating President Saddam Hussein.