The 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit has been extended in Iraq for 30 days, said unit spokeswoman Capt. Pamela Marshall.

The 13th MEU will now leave Iraq by the end of September and return to San Diego in mid-November, Marshall said in a Thursday e-mail to Stars and Stripes.

“MNF-West requested our presence for an additional 30 days to continue conducting counter-insurgency operations in the Lake Thar Thar region, and to transition the area to Iraqi Army control,” Marshall said.

She also said the 2,200 Marines and sailors in the MEU were not “overly surprised” about the extension.

The MEU arrived in Anbar province in June as part of the increase in U.S. troop strength in Iraq known as the “surge.”

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