US to send more troops to Iraq to support fight against Islamic State

The United States is planning to send an additional 600 US troops to Iraq to help Iraqi troops in their effort to retake Mosul from the Islamic State extremist militia.

"In anticipation of the Mosul fight, the United States and the government of Iraq have agreed that additional US and coalition capabilities could help accelerate the campaign at this critical phase," Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter said.

The troops will be deployed to the Qayyarah West and Al Asad air bases, Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis said.

President Barack Obama approved a request for 600 more troops, the White House said.

"These are military forces that will be deployed to intensify the strategy that's in place, to support Iraqi forces as they prepare for an offensive," spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Wednesday that he had asked Obama to increase the number of US military trainers and advisors in his country.

The US personnel would not play a combat role in his government’s planned campaign to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, a statement from al-Abadi's office said.

“The ones who will liberate the land are our heroic forces,” the statement added without details.

The troops will provide logistics and maintenance support as well as train, advise and assist Iraqi and Kurdish forces and expand intelligence operations, Carter said.

The US currently has around 4,500 troops in Iraq.

Mosul has been under Islamic State’s control since mid-2014 when the al-Qaeda splinter group launched a blitz attack in Iraq.

In recent months, Iraqi forces, backed by a US-led air power, has dealt military setbacks to Islamic State in several parts of the country. 

Last update: Wed, 28/09/2016 - 22:04

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