Of­fi­cials says US to send more troops to Iraq to aid Mo­sul

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - NATION + WORLD -

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.

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