U.S. soldiers working in Baghdad have rescued sixteen Arabs belonging to the former dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein.

The horses were removed from their stables in the Jadrieda Equestrian Club shortly before war broke out and taken to a racecourse in the city. Concerns grew for the animals’ welfare, after the people holding them refused to hand them over.

The horses’ rescue was organised by the U.S. Army 354 Civil Affairs Division who worked closely alongside an emergency relief team from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

The team from IFAW and Brendan Whittington-Jones from the Thula Thula Executive Game Reserve (South Africa) are now in the process of carrying out assessments on each of the horses, as well as providing them all with the necessary care.

IFAW emergency relief worker Amed Khan said: “The original team who looked after these animals has been located and they have now returned to look after them.

“We are assisting with any veterinary help that is required and we hope to provide new grooming kits to improve the care of the horses. “

Saddam Hussein and his sons, who all had a passion for racing and horses, regularly attended the equestrian club to ride.

Director of the Jadrieda Equestrian Club, Mr Abu-Baker Farouk said: “We are very happy that these horses have been returned and grateful to everyone who helped with the operation.”

For more information on the work being done by IFAW click here to visit their website.