Officials says US to send more troops to Iraq to aid Mosul
The U.S. 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-criticized 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 ground forces in Iraq but whose role is politically sensitive there.
Carter said the extra Americans would perform roles at various locations, including at Qaraya West air base south of Mosul.