President Barack Obama has authorized the deployment of up to 1,500 additional troops to Iraq in order to help train and advise government and Kurdish forces fighting the armed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, the White House has said.
“As a part of our strategy for strengthening partners on the ground, President Obama today authorized the deployment of up to 1,500 additional US military personnel in a non-combat role to train, advise, and assist Iraqi Security Forces, including Kurdish forces,” the statement said on Friday.
The Obama administration will ask Congress for $5.6bn for the operations in Iraq and Syria, which includes $1.6bn for the new “Iraq Train and Equip Fund,” the White House Office of Management and Budget said.
The deployment will roughly double the number of US troops in the country.
Some of the advisors will be deployed to western Anbar province, where the Iraqi army has been forced to retreat from advancing ISIL fighters, a defence official who spoke on condition of anonymity told AFP news agency.
Some of the additional troops will begin to arrive in Iraq in the next several weeks, the official said.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recommended the move to Obama based on a request from the Iraqi government and the assessment of US Central Command, which is overseeing the air war against ISIL, the Pentagon said.
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