BAGHDAD -- The U.S. military says 3,500 soldiers sent to Iraq last summer as part of the so-called `surge' will soon be leaving.

A military statement released late Monday says the soldiers will redeploy to the U.S. in the coming weeks.

The increase in troops, along with the rise of anti-al Qaeda Sunni fighters and a truce called by Shiite militias, was credited with helping dramatically cut violence across Iraq in the last 10 months.

All surge troops were expected to leave Iraq by this July, but U.S. commanders are asking for a `pause' in redeployments so they can assess the security situation as soldiers leave.