News ID: 139823
Published: 0940 GMT April 18, 2016

US to deploy more troops, Apache helicopters to Iraq, says Carter

US to deploy more troops, Apache helicopters to Iraq, says Carter

US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter says the US is going to deploy 217 more troops and a number of Apache helicopters to Iraq, to help Baghdad expand its military efforts against the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group.

Carter made the announcement during a visit to Baghdad on Monday, adding that the US military was going to provide Iraqi forces with Apache attack helicopters and an additional HIMARS rocket system as they gear up to retake the city of Mosul that fell to Daesh last year.

Moreover, Carter said Washington was going to make a $415 million contribution to the Peshmerga, a Kurdish military group fighting Daesh.

The Pentagon chief made the announcement as he made a stop in Iraq on his Middle East tour, in which he also asked allies in the region for help on the war against Daesh.

Upon his arrival in Baghdad, Carter met with Lt. General Sean MacFarland, the US military commander overseeing the fight against Daesh. He also met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Defense Minister Khalid al-Obeidi.

With the new decision, the administration of President Barack Obama has put the US troop level in Iraq at 4,087, up from the previous 3,870 forces that the Pentagon had deployed.

US Army Colonel Steve Warren, who is stationed in Baghdad, said it was "fair to say" that there are hundreds more troops than even that figure, arguing that it was part of the natural rotation of incoming and outgoing forces.

This is while Obama was elected on a promise to withdraw US troops from Iraq, and announced its fulfillment in 2011.

Last June, the president said he would send hundreds of military personnel to train Iraqi troops in Anbar province while continuing an aerial campaign on Daesh positions which was started since September 2014.

Additionally, in late March, US military officials confirmed the creation of the Marine outpost, dubbed Fire Base Bell, which is said to be the first such base established by the US since it returned forces to Iraq in 2014.

However, they insisted that the nearly 200 Marines were only there to provide security for Iraqi forces and US advisers at the nearby Iraqi base in Makhmour.

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