Boyce also said that large numbers of Iraqi soldiers have been surrendering. ‘We are seeking to achieve our campaign objectives with the minimum of force,’ Boyce said.

Responding to a question about progress in talks with the government of Turkey about securing the right for coalition forces to overfly Turkey, Boyce said that talks with Ankara are continuing. Observers say this suggests that agreement has yet to be reached about the terms of the offer of overflight rights approved on 20 March by the Turkish parliament. Turkey is reported to be demanding the right to deploy troops in northern Iraq in return for allowing overflights.