WASHINGTON – 600 additional US troops will bolster Iraqi forces in the looming battle for Mosul, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said.
Backed by the US-led coalition, the Kurdish Peshmerga and the Iraqi Army are preparing for a major military operation against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Mosul. The operation is expected to begin in late October.
“The coalition to defeat ISIL continues to achieve results on the battlefield, and I congratulate Iraqi security forces on their recent progress, including the operation to free Sharqat. The coalition will continue to increase the pressure on ISIL in Mosul and wherever it seeks refuge in Iraq,” Carter said, using another acronym for ISIS.
“In anticipation of the Mosul fight, the United States and the government of Iraq have agreed that additional U.S. and coalition capabilities could help accelerate the campaign at this critical phase. At the request of myself and Chairman Dunford, and with the support and approval of Prime Minister Abadi, President Obama has authorized approximately 600 additional U.S. troops to further enable Iraqi forces,” he said.
“Government of Iraq approved approximately 600 additional troops for Mosul liberation. Troops will be in support roles, not an assault force entering Mosul,” US Air Force spokesman Col John Dorrian said.
The troops will provide logistics and maintenance support. They will train, advise and assist Iraqi security forces and Kurdish Peshmerga in the upcoming Mosul operation.
The United States has also expanded intelligence networks to help disrupt ISIS in Iraq.
In a statement, the US Department of Defence said: “The United States will continue to stay in close contact with our Iraqi partners as efforts to retake Mosul progress, including the role that the international coalition can continue to play in helping the Iraqi government defeat ISIL.”
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg
Source: ARA News