US to send 1,500 additional troops to Iraq
The U.S. is going to deploy an additional 1,500 troops to Iraq in a bid to ramp up its efforts to train and assist Iraqi forces, Anadolu Agency reported.
The troops will not assume a combat role, according to Pentagon presssecretary John Kirby. He added that U.S. Central Command, or Centcom, will establish two operations centers outside of those currently in Baghdad and Erbil that will be "supported by an appropriate array of force protection capabilities."
While not pinpointing the exact locations for the new sites, Kirby said that they would be based in northern, western and southern Iraq.
"Coalition partners will join U.S. personnel at these locations to help build Iraqi capacity and capability," Kirby said in a statement. "Ultimately, these Iraqi forces, when fully trained, will enable Iraq to better defend its citizens, its borders, and its interests against the threat of ISIL."
Funding for the training operation will come jointly from a request that the administration will submit to Congress, and from the Iraqi government.
The move follows a recommendation made by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to President Barack Obama based on an Iraqi government request, Centcom's assessment of Iraqi units, "and in concert with the development of a coalition campaign plan to defend key areas and go on the offensive against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant."