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The final withdrawal of British troops from Iraq could be announced by the end of the year, the BBC has learned.
Discussions have begun about forces pulling out of the country - if the security situation continues to improve as it has in recent months.
Ministers are under pressure from the military to release the 4,000 troops who are currently serving in Iraq while pressures are mounting in Afghanistan.
Previous plans to reduce troop numbers to 2,500 were put on hold in March.
This followed a bout of violence dubbed the "battle of Basra".