BAGHDAD, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Iraqi security forces officially took over control of combat operations from U.S. military forces Saturday, with the top U.S. commander promising ongoing help.
U.S. Gen. Raymond Odierno and Iraq's defense minister watched as the 4th Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division passed its responsibilities to the 6th Iraqi Army Division, CNN reported.
"We're still very committed to Iraq," Odierno said.
"I think we've come a long way, having been here through the very bad times, the progress that we made is encouraging; the fact that we're getting down to 50,000 [U.S. troops] -- how we've executed that, I think we've executed that extremely well. I think we're set up now to finish the mission here. But for me it's not final, there is still work that has to be done here by those that are to follow me."
President Barack Obama has directed that the current 64,000-strong U.S. presence be reduced to 50,000 by Sept. 1.