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First month passes without US deaths in Iraq

August was something of a milestone for the United States.

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(Antler)

For the very first time since the U.S.-led invasion in Iraq in 2003, a month has passed during which no U.S. soldiers or personnel lost their lives.

It's a bittersweet reflection, as it comes after 14 troops were killed in July – one of the deadliest months for Americans in three years.

Officials have described the fact that all 48,000 U.S. troops in Iraq survived August as a “remarkable, if fragile achievement”, reports the New York Times.

Defense Department figures show that 4,465 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq since 2003.

The military puts a recent drop in troop deaths down to aggressive unilateral strikes by U.S. forces, and moves by the Iraqi government to push back against Iran and the Shiite militias.

Colonel Douglas Crissman, who is in charge of American forces in four provinces of southern Iraq, told the New York Times:

If you had thought about a month without a death back during the surge in 2007, it would have been pretty hard to imagine because we were losing soldiers every day, dozens a week.

I think this shows how far the Iraqi security forces have come.

Despite the fact there were no U.S. troops deaths, August was still a bloody month that saw substantial loss of civilian life.

On August 28, a suicide bombing at a Sunni mosque in the capital, Baghdad, killed 32 people, while a further 60 died in a series of coordinated assaults on August 15.

U.S. forces in Iraq are due to withdraw at the end of the year.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/110901/us-troops-iraq-august-no-deaths