More U.S. troops will be going to Iraq in the months ahead to help local forces defeat
ISIS, the top American military commander in charge of operations in the Middle
East told CNN in Baghdad Thursday. This is in addition to the 560 U.S. forces
President Obama ordered to Iraq this week.
“There will probably be some additional capabilities we will need to bring in to
complete our objectives,” said Gen. Joseph Votel, who heads the U.S. Central
“As the leadership has told me, if we need something, we need additional
capabilities, we need additional people, we should ask for those things and I’ve
been encouraged to do that,” Votel added.
The 560 troops deploying to Iraq will help secure an air base 40 miles south of
Mosul, recently captured by Iraqi forces supported by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes.
American military logistics personnel, engineers and force protection units will
compose the bulk of the troops.
The British government said this week they would send 250 more troops to Iraq as
The base will be used to stage Iraqi forces making the assault on Mosul, defense
Iraqi forces want to build on their momentum following their victory over ISIS in
Fallujah, backed by hundreds of coalition airstrikes.
It is not immediately clear what type of forces will be headed to Iraq to help prepare
for the long awaited ground operation to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city
located more than 250 miles north of Baghdad. The majority of ISIS fighters in Iraq
are located in Mosul since conquering the city more than two years ago.
Votel said the role of U.S. forces would not change going forward — they will continue
to train and advise Iraqi forces away from the front lines.