The US Department of Defense is deploying additional soldiers to Iraq to support security forces fighting Islamic State (IS) militants in the country.
Authorised by the US President Barack Obama, the deployment was recommended by the US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, based on the request of the Iraqi Government, US Central Command’s (CENTCOM) assessment of Iraqi units, the progress made by the Iraqi forces, and in concert with the development of a coalition campaign plan against the terrorist group.
Scheduled to be deployed in the coming months, the 1,500 additional troops will serve in a non-combat role, expanding the advice and assist mission and initiating a comprehensive training effort for Iraqi forces.
Pentagon press secretary rear admiral John Kirby said CENTCOM will establish two expeditionary advice and assist operations centres, outside of Baghdad and Erbil, to provide support for the Iraqis at the brigade headquarters level and above.
"US Central Command will establish several sites across Iraq that will accommodate the training of 12 Iraqi brigades, specifically nine Iraqi army and three Peshmerga brigades," Kirby said.
"These sites will be located in northern, western and southern Iraq. Coalition partners will join US personnel at these locations to help build Iraqi capacity and capability.
"The training will be funded through the request for an Iraq train and equip fund that the administration will submit to Congress, as well as from the Government of Iraq."
The US has already sent 1,600 military advisers to Iraq since the start of the IS offensive in June, BBC News reported.
The Pentagon is scheduled to finalise the training site locations in the coming days, in addition to working with coalition members to determine the number of US and coalition personnel required at each location.
As part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the US, along with its allies, is also launching air strikes in Iraq and Syria, in a bid to degrade and destroy IS.
Meanwhile, an Iraqi interior ministry intelligence member told The Associated Press that IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was wounded by coalition air strikes in Qaim in Iraq’s western Anbar province.
While Iraqi defence and interior ministries confirmed that al-Baghdadi had been wounded, Pentagon officials noted that they had no immediate information on such a strike or injury.