BAGHDAD (AP) — Defense Secretary Ash Carter says the U.S. will send 560 more troops to Iraq.
Carter says the new forces will help establish a newly retaken air base as a staging hub for long-awaited battle to recapture Mosul from Islamic State militants. He made the announcement Monday during a visit to Iraq.
According to Carter, U.S. and coalition forces will use the newly retaken air base in Qayara as a staging hub, giving Iraqi security forces the foothold they need to begin the Mosul operation.
Carter, in an unannounced visit, says U.S. advisers are prepared to accompany Iraqi battalions, if needed, as they move toward Mosul.
A senior defense official says it’s unclear when U.S. advisers would begin accompanying the battalions, but it could be in the coming weeks and months. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, so spoke anonymously.
Carter laid out the U.S. vision for Qayara for the first time, describing its recapture as a key strategic victory.