Obama approves deployment of US military advisors to Iraq
US President Barack Obama has approved the deployment of up to 300 military advisers to help the Iraqi government to combat ongoing violence from the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) militants.
The deployment follows a series of meetings between Obama and his national security team to review options on how to respond to Iraq's request for military assistance to fight against the Syrian-based insurgents.
Obama said that US forces will not participate in combat, but will help train, advise and support Iraqi security forces as they confront the terrorists who threaten Iraqi people in the region and US interests also.
"We will be prepared to take targeted and precise military action if and when we determine that the situation on the ground requires it," Obama added.
The US will create joint operation centers in Baghdad and northern Iraq to share intelligence and coordinate planning to combat the ISIL terrorist threat, according to the President.
Unnamed US military officials were quoted by ABC News as saying that the deployed troops would come from forces currently stationed in the Middle East.
ISIL-led terrorist groups have continued to capture cities and towns in the northern and western parts of Iraq in the past ten days despite fierce resistance from Iraqi security forces, risking a threat of reprisals from Shiites, and and the return of full-blown sectarian conflict.
The US was requested by Iraq to carry out airstrikes on the insurgents, and has already stepped up surveillance flights and the positioning of US military assets in the region.
Image: US President Barack Obama announced plans to deploy up to 300 US military advisors to Iraq. Photo: Pete Souza, The Obama-Biden Transition Project.