U.S. To Deploy 200 Additional Troops To Iraq As Mosul Battle Rages On
The U.S. is to deploy additional troops from the country’s 82nd Airborne Division to northern Iraq, where the fight to drive Islamic State (ISIS) out of its last stronghold rages on, a U.S. defense official said on Sunday (March 26).
The decision to deploy 200 additional troops was made by Army Lt. General Stephen Townsend, who is in charge of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, Fox News reported.
Townsend, however, didn’t specify where the U.S. combat soldiers will be sent.
Meanwhile, the Military Times cited U.S. officials in Baghdad on Sunday as saying "Additional members of 2/82 BCT are deploying to Iraq on a non-enduring temporary mission to provide additional 'advise and assist' support to our Iraq partners as they liberate Mosul.”
This comes as Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Baghdad wants fewer U.S. troops in the country with ISIS near defeat in Mosul.
“As we are crushing Daesh [ISIS], it is clear that there is a need to reduce the number of our allies who are helping us,” Abadi said during an interview with Middle East Eye published on March 16.
Iraqi forces backed by U.S.-led Coalition forces launched an offensive to liberate eastern Mosul in mid-October. After more than three months of fierce fighting, the east of the city was recaptured from the militant group.
As Iraqi forces advance deeper into west Mosul, they are facing increasingly stiff resistance from ISIS militants using suicide car bombs and snipers to defend their last major stronghold in Iraq.