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Saddam's Iraq: Key events
Gulf War 1990 -1991

Ground War 24 - 28 Feb 1991 A military helicopter flies past a burning oil well in Kuwait
Oil wells blazed as the troops went in
On Sunday 24 February 1991, allied forces launched a combined ground, air and sea assault which overwhelmed the Iraqi army within 100 hours.

The previous day Iraq had failed to meet a deadline for withdrawal and had set fire to hundreds of Kuwaiti oil wells.

Allied troops swept into Iraq and Kuwait from several points along the Saudi Arabian border. Hundreds of tanks raced north to take on the Iraqi Republican Guard.

Bombed out vehicles on the Basra road
The "Highway of Death"
"The allied Blitzkrieg has gone like clockwork"
The BBC's Brian Barron
"The bombers overhead caught the flood of escaping soldiers"
Kate Adie, Basra Road

More forces took control of the highway running south from Basra to Kuwait, cutting off supply lines to Iraqi troops in Kuwait as marines and Saudi-led coalition troops pushed into the emirate itself.

By 26 February, Iraq had announced it was withdrawing its forces from Kuwait, but still refused to accept all the UN resolutions passed against it.

Iraqi tanks, armoured vehicles, trucks and troops fleeing the allied onslaught formed huge queues on the main road north from Kuwait to the southern Iraqi city of Basra.

Allied forces bombed them from the air, killing thousands of troops in their vehicles in what became known as the “Highway of Death”.

An estimated 25,000 to 30,000 Iraqis were killed during the ground war alone.

Saddam's rise: 1957-79
Iran-Iraq war: 1980-88
Gulf War: 1991
Aftermath: From 1991
Sanctions: 1991-2002
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