President Obama Sending 450 More Troops to Iraq
Shift comes after ISIS has made several battleground gains in Iraq and Syria.
— -- President Obama is sending up to 450 additional military advisers to Iraq.
The announcement comes after the militant group that calls itself the Islamic State has made several battleground gains in Iraq and Syria in recent weeks. The Islamic State is also known as ISIS or ISIL.
"The president authorized the deployment of up to 450 additional U.S. military personnel to train, advise, and assist Iraqi Security Forces at Taqaddum military base in eastern Anbar province," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement today.
The focus for the new troops will be to provide training to Iraqi security forces in their mission to reclaim lost territory from ISIS in Anbar province, where ISIS completed a takeover of the capital city of Ramadi last month. The troops will not serve in a combat role, officials said.
"These new advisers will work to build capacity of Iraqi forces, including local tribal fighters, to improve their ability to plan, lead, and conduct operations against ISIL in eastern Anbar under the command of the Prime Minister," Earnest said in a statement.
The White House said the president is sending the additional troops at the request of Iraq's prime minister, in addition to recommendations from the his national security team.
The coalition currently conducts training for Iraqi military troops at four bases for conventional troops and another for special operations forces. Today's announcement expands training operations to a new base in eastern Anbar.
Once Anbar is reclaimed, the focus will shift to recapturing Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, which has been under ISIS control for a year now.
The U.S. currently has 3,080 troops in Iraq, just under the cap of 3,100, but that number fluctuates daily between 3,000 to 3,100, according to officials.
In addition to the new troops, the president's revised strategy puts a priority on expediting the delivery of weapons and other equipment to Iraqi forces and tribal forces fighting in coordination.
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