The Marine Corps commandant says that all but a few dozen of the 16,000 Marines now in Iraq will be out by next spring, putting a solid end date on a long-anticipated exit for the corps.
Gen. James T. Conway says his Marine commanders are already moving equipment out of Anbar Province, where his forces have largely been concentrated. But the larger exodus will begin shortly after the Iraqi national elections in December.
Conway told a National Press Club audience that he sees the number of Marines in Iraq going down to essentially zero. He says the only exception will be about 30 Marines who will be working with Iraq's own fledgling Marine Corps securing oil platforms in the south around Basra.
All U.S. combat forces are scheduled to be out of Iraqi cities by the end of this month, and out of Iraq by the end of 2011.
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