France withdraws troops from Iraq over coronavirus

France is withdrawing its troops in Iraq. (Shutterstock)
Short Url
Updated 26 March 2020

France withdraws troops from Iraq over coronavirus

  • France has around 200 military personnel working in Iraq

PARIS: France will withdraw its contingent of troops from Iraq, mostly trainers to local armed forces, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the chief of staff said on Wednesday.
France has around 200 military personnel working in Iraq either as trainers or in the headquarters of coalition forces in Baghdad.
“In coordination with the Iraqi government, the coalition has decided to adjust its deployments in Iraq and provisionally suspend training activities,” it said in a statement.
The UK defense ministry had already announced some of its troops would come home, citing a “reduced requirement for training” Iraqi security forces.
Iraq’s military had halted all training in early March to minimize the risk of the illness spreading among its forces, including from the US-led coalition helping fight remnants of the Daesh group.


Lebanon daily coronavirus cases spike

Updated 8 min 58 sec ago

Lebanon daily coronavirus cases spike

  • New cases have leapt since Friday, with over 300 registered in three days
  • The Lebanese Red Cross said on Twitter that its teams were transporting 131 company employees who had tested positive to a quarantine center

BEIRUT: Lebanon on Sunday reported 166 coronavirus cases, its highest daily infection toll since the country’s outbreak began in February.
The new figures announced by the health ministry bring the total number of infections to 2,334 including 36 deaths, according to figures carried by the state-run National News Agency (NNA).
New cases have leapt since Friday, with over 300 registered in three days, after daily numbers had appeared to be stabilising in recent weeks.
The Lebanese Red Cross said on Twitter that its teams were transporting 131 company employees who had tested positive to a quarantine center.
Health Minister Hamad Hassan said those cases were among the 166 announced Sunday, and that the figure represented a “peak.”
But he appeared to play down the spike, saying the latest infections were from a “known source” and telling local media that the chances of further transmissions existed but were “not big.”
Lebanon had started to gradually lift lockdown measures since the end of April and opened its airport to commercial flights at the start of this month, after a more than three-month closure.
In May, the government ordered a four-day return to lockdown after an uptick in new cases.
The pandemic arrived with Lebanon already mired in its worst-ever economic crisis, marked by an unprecedented plunge in the currency and with nearly half of the population in poverty.