More troops for Iraq to re­claim Mo­sul

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

AL­BU­QUERQUE, Mexico (AP): THE UNITED States is send­ing 615 more troops to Iraq as the stage is set for an Iraqi-led bat­tle to re­claim Mo­sul, the north­ern city that has been the Is­lamic State group’s main strong­hold for more than two years. The of­fen­sive, start­ing as soon as Oc­to­ber, looms as a de­ci­sive mo­ment for Iraq and for Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s much-crit­i­cised strat­egy to de­feat IS.

“These forces will be pri­mar­ily to en­able Iraqi se­cu­rity forces and also (Kur­dish) Pesh­merga in the op­er­a­tions to iso­late and col­lapse ISIL’s con­trol over Mo­sul, but also to pro­tect and ex­pand Iraqi se­cu­rity forces’ gains else­where in Iraq,” De­fense Sec­re­tary Ash Carter told re­porters Wed­nes­day. The Pesh­merga are Kur­dish mili­tia fight­ers who are gen­er­ally among the most pro­fi­cient New ground forces in Iraq but whose role is po­lit­i­cally sen­si­tive there.

Carter said the ex­tra Amer­i­cans would per­form mul­ti­ple roles at mul­ti­ple lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing at Qaraya West air base south of Mo­sul, where they will be build­ing up the base to make it a hub for Iraq forces, and at al-Asad air base in An­bar prov­ince more than 200 miles away, where they will strengthen sup­ply lines for the move­ment of sup­plies north to­ward Mo­sul.

Obama ap­proved the de­ploy­ment, which Navy Cap­tain Jeff Davis, a Pen­ta­gon spokesman, said would to­tal 615 troops who would be­gin mov­ing out “very soon”. Al­though the Amer­i­cans are not to par­tic­i­pate di­rectly in com­bat, they may in some cases move for­ward with Iraqi com­bat forces and could face IS at­tacks.

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