US to send 560 troops to help Iraqi army retake Mosul

Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul has been held by the ISIL extreme group since mid-2014

US to send 560 troops to help Iraqi army retake Mosul

World Bulletin / News Desk

Washington plans to send an additional 560 troops to Iraq to help the Iraqi army retake the city of Mosul from the ISIL extremist group, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Monday in Baghdad.

"The United States will send an additional 560 troops to Iraq to help support a key offensive to retake Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, from ISIL," Carter said in a statement upon his arrival in the Iraqi capital.

"With the retaking of Qayyarah West Airfield, the Iraqi security forces have once again demonstrated a serious will to fight," Carter said.

On Saturday, Iraqi forces retook the airfield -- located just south of Mosul -- from ISIL. They now hope to use it as a launching-pad for a major campaign aimed at recovering Mosul itself.

"The point of seizing that airfield is to be able to establish a logistics and air hub in the immediate vicinity of Mosul," carter said. "So there will be U.S. logistics support."

Carter arrived in Baghdad on Monday in an unannounced visit.

Hasan al-Noufal, an Iraqi Defense Ministry official said that Carter planned to meet several Iraqi political and military leaders, including Defense Minister Khaled al-Obaidi, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and the commander of Iraq’s armed forces.

According to al-Noufal, talks between Carter and Iraqi officials are focused mainly on plans to retake Mosul from ISIL, which in mid-2014 overran large swathes of territory in northern Iraq.

Baghdad has repeatedly announced its intention to "liberate" Mosul before the end of the year.

Hours after Carter’s arrival to Baghdad, his Canadian counterpart, Harjit Singh Sajjan, also arrived in the Iraqi capital, according to the Iraqi Defense Ministry.

A ministry source said Sajjan also planned to discuss anti-ISIL operations with Iraqi leaders, with an emphasis on the planned campaign to retake Mosul.

Canada is a member of an international, U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition, which has been striking ISIL targets from the air -- in both Iraq and Syria -- since the extremist group’s dramatic territorial gains in 2014. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Temmuz 2016, 11:40