US deploys additional soldiers to strengthen security in Iraq

30 June 2014 (Last Updated June 30th, 2014 18:30)

The US Department of Defense (DoD) is deploying an additional 200 soldiers to Iraq to strengthen security at the US Embassy in Baghdad and its support facilities, as well as at Baghdad International Airport.

The US Department of Defense (DoD) is deploying an additional 200 soldiers to Iraq to strengthen security at the US Embassy in Baghdad and its support facilities, as well as at Baghdad International Airport.

Pentagon press secretary navy rear admiral John Kirby said in a written statement that the deployment has been ordered by President Barack Obama, in order to safeguard US citizens and property.

The additional personnel arrived in Iraq in the last two days from locations within the US Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility (AOR), along with a detachment of helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), to augment airfield and travel route security.

"The additional personnel arrived in Iraq in the last two days from locations within the US Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility (AOR)."

"Similar to the US security personnel who arrived in Baghdad earlier this month to provide support and security for US personnel and the US Embassy in Baghdad, they will integrate with existing embassy security teams," Kirby said.

The troops are expected to help the embassy continue its critical diplomatic mission, and will work with Iraq on confronting the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).

Meanwhile, the US is also forward deploying approximately 100 soldiers, who arrived in the CENTCOM region in mid-June, to Baghdad for security and logistics support, according to Kirby.

This coincides with the announcement that the joint operations centre (JOC) opened by US forces in Baghdad is fully operational. Assessments of Iraqi units by six US teams have also started.

US Defense Department spokesperson army colonel Steven Warren said: "Right now, the JOC is collecting the information being provided by the six assessment teams [and] collating it, so we're still in the assessment phase now.

"To be clear, we're providing the Iraqis [with] information that will be useful to them in their fight against ISIS."

An al-Qaeda splinter group, ISIS, which has renamed itself the 'Islamic State', has captured several towns and cities across Iraq's northern and western provinces in the past few weeks.

Defence Technology