US Sending 560 More Troops to Recapture Mosul

US Sending 560 More Troops to Recapture MosulUS Sending 560 More Troops to Recapture Mosul

The United States will send 560 more troops to Iraq to transform a freshly retaken air base into a staging hub for the long-awaited battle to recapture Mosul from the self-styled Islamic State militant group, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Monday.

The new American forces should arrive in the coming weeks.

Most of the engineers, logistics personnel, security and communications forces will concentrate on building up Qayara air base, about 40 kilometers south of Mosul. They will assist Iraqi forces planning to encircle and eventually retake the biggest city anywhere that has fallen under IS’ control, AP reported.

The extremist group captured Mosul in the summer of 2014. It has used the city as a main headquarters since.

“These additional US forces will bring unique capabilities to the campaign and provide critical enabler support to Iraqi forces at a key moment in the fight,” Carter said on an unannounced visit to the country.

Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, the top US commander in the fight against IS, said they have already received warning orders to deploy and will flow in “relatively soon”.

Carter announced President Barack Obama’s decision as he met about 120 troops in a building at Baghdad’s airport, shielded from scorching desert hovering near 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It is Obama’s second US troop increase in Iraq in the last three months, and it brings the total US force authorization there to 4,647.

Asked how long America will continue to send more forces to the fight, Carter said that the US is determined to defeat IS, and if commanders need for more troops, “I’ll ask the president for them.”

He also said he has offered Iraqi leaders additional help in learning how to detect and counter explosives and roadside bombs, in order to enhance security in Baghdad, where there have been several recent deadly attacks.

Iraqi forces retook the Qayara air base from IS on Saturday. Carter likened Qayara to the eastern city of Makhmour, where US troops set up a fire base for artillery to support advancing Iraqi units.