iraq.jpg
Photograph: EPA/ALI HAIDER

The United States is planning to send an additional 600 US troops to Iraq to help Iraqi troops in their effort to retake Mosul from the Islamic State extremist militia.

"In anticipation of the Mosul fight, the United States and the government of Iraq have agreed that additional US and coalition capabilities could help accelerate the campaign at this critical phase," Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter said.

The troops will be deployed to the Qayyarah West and Al Asad air bases, Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis said.

President Barack Obama approved a request for 600 more troops, the White House said.

"These are military forces that will be deployed to intensify the strategy that's in place, to support Iraqi forces as they prepare for an offensive," spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Wednesday that he had asked Obama to increase the number of US military trainers and advisors in his country.

The US personnel would not play a combat role in his government’s planned campaign to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, a statement from al-Abadi's office said.

“The ones who will liberate the land are our heroic forces,” the statement added without details.

The troops will provide logistics and maintenance support as well as train, advise and assist Iraqi and Kurdish forces and expand intelligence operations, Carter said.

The US currently has around 4,500 troops in Iraq.

Mosul has been under Islamic State’s control since mid-2014 when the al-Qaeda splinter group launched a blitz attack in Iraq.

In recent months, Iraqi forces, backed by a US-led air power, has dealt military setbacks to Islamic State in several parts of the country. 

Related stories

Latest news

Alphabet's self-driving car company sues Uber over alleged theft

Alphabet's self-driving car company Waymo said Thursday it was suing Uber and its subsidiary Otto for allegedly stealing its technology and infringing its patents.

US, Mexico take "important steps" even as Trump voices indifference

Top US and Mexican diplomatic and security officials met on Thursday in Mexico City, as President Donald Trump in Washington expressed ambivalence about relations with the United States' southern neighbour.

US Supreme Court's Ginsberg emphasizes value of free press

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg expressed optimism about the political future of the United States despite the polarized and combative political atmosphere that has marked the fledgling presidency of Donald Trump.

Top Trump aide Bannon points to promises kept, media fight

Top White House strategist Steve Bannon said Thursday US President Donald Trump is keeping the promises he made during his campaign on issues from immigration to job creation.

Le Pen promises independent foreign policy, autonomous defence

Marine Le Pen promised Thursday that if elected president of France she would ensure it had a truly independent foreign policy as well as an autonomous capacity for self-defence.

Slovenia for ending lawsuits against Ljubljanska Banka

Croatia is infringing the memorandum of understanding signed with Slovenia in 2013 which they interpret differently, the Slovenian Embassy said on Thursday after a hearing at a Zagreb court in a suit which Croatia's PBZ bank filed against Slovenia's Ljubljanska Banka (LB) and Nova Ljubljanska Bank (NLB) over transferred foreign currency savings.

Marin Pucar appointed as new CEO in Podravka food concern

Marin Pucar is the new Management Board chairman of the Podravka food concern and will take the helm of the company after Zvonimir Mrsic's term expires at midnight on Thursday.

Croatian MEP says Moscow wants to influence in western Balkans

Croatian MEP Ivan Jakovcic said in an interview with the Montenegrin Pobjeda daily on Thursday that Moscow is trying to exploit the political forces in Montenegro and that Russia's meddling in Montenegro's internal affairs was "unacceptable behaviour."

New York Times launches brand campaign for 'The Truth' with Oscars ad

The New York Times is using Sunday's Academy Awards show to launch an advertising drive with an ad spot that capitalizes on President Donald Trump's confrontational relationship with the paper and other mainstream media.

Gambia charges former spy chief with murder of opposition leader

The former head of the Gambian national intelligence agency has been charged with the murder of an opposition youth leader who died in detention last year.

Dutch populist Wilders won't publicly campaign after security fiasco

The Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) won't make public appearances in support of its election campaign after a security official assigned to protect party founder Geert Wilders was detained by police.

Peace Implementation Council Steering Board calls for defusing tensions in Bosnia

The Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) met on Thursday, expressing the international community's concern about the situation in the country and calling on local politicians to act rationally to prevent an escalation of the crisis after a motion was submitted to review an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling in BiH's case against Serbia for genocide.