A ceremony to transfer US military security control of the Sunni province of Anbar to local forces was held Monday morning. According to AFP, the ceremony at the provincial governate building of Ramadi, the provincial capital, which started with the reading of the Koran marks the handover of the 11th of Iraq's 18 provinces.
Iraqi police said tens of thousands of Iraqi and US troops were on alert across the province in western Iraq. Majid al-Assafi, the provincial police chief, told AFP on Sunday that his forces were prepared to accept security responsibility in Anbar. The US military said the transfer of security was an "important milestone with regard to security" in the province. After the transfer, American forces will withdraw to their bases and will participate in military operations only if requested by the provincial governor.