South Korea will withdraw about 650 troops from Iraq by mid-September under a plan to cut its troop level there by a third, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday.

The reduction, which will be made as part of a troop rotation, will bring the total number of South Korean soldiers withdrawn this year to nearly 900, a JCS official said on condition of anonymity citing policy.

CountryWatch: Iraq

South Korea plans to withdraw about 1,000 of its 3,200-member contingent stationed in northern Iraq by the end of the year. The reduction began in May.

South Korea deployed nearly 3,600 troops in the northern Iraq city of Irbil in 2004, making it the second-largest U.S. coalition partner after Britain.