Carter Salutes Iraqi Forces
Carter Salutes Iraqi Forces,
Announces 560 U.S. Troops to Deploy to Iraq
DoD News, Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. — (DOD
News) — July 11, 2016 — During his visit to Baghdad today, Defense Secretary
Ash Carter met with Iraqi leaders, coalition commanders and U.S. troops and also
announced that the United States, in close consultation with the Iraqi
government, will deploy an additional 560 troops to Iraq to assist
in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, according to
DoD news release.
An Air Force B-52 Stratofortress aircraft deploys its rear
chute after touching down at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar
At every step in this campaign, we have generated and seized
additional opportunities to hasten ISIL's lasting defeat," Carter said. "These
additional U.S. forces will bring unique capabilities to the campaign and
provide critical enabler support to Iraqi forces at a key moment in the fight."
Carter met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi and
other Iraqi leaders, commending them for recent progress in the fight against
ISIL, including the capture of a strategic airfield near the town of Qayyarah
that will aid operations to free Mosul, the release said.
"With the retaking of Qayyarah West airfield, the Iraqi
security forces have once again demonstrated a serious will to fight," the
defense secretary said. "I congratulate them on their recent successes and
reaffirm that the United States, along with our coalition partners, will
continue to do all we can to support Iraq's effort to serve ISIL a lasting
Building on Counter-ISIL Momentum
Carter also discussed the next steps in the counter-ISIL
military campaign, the release said. In light of Iraqi security forces’ recent
advances, the release said, the defense secretary announced that the United
States, in close coordination with the Iraqi government, will deploy an
additional 560 troops to Iraq to build on that momentum.
The additional troops, the release said, will provide a range
of support for Iraqi security forces, including infrastructure and logistical
capabilities at the airfield near Qayyarah.
As the campaign shifts toward Mosul -- more than 250 miles
from Baghdad -- the airfield will become a vital springboard for Iraqi forces’
offensive into Mosul, the release said. Coalition forces will also continue to
provide enabler support to Kurdish Peshmerga as they converge on Mosul from
Iraq's north, according to the release.
Obama approved the additional forces on Carter's
recommendation after consulting with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Marine Corps
Gen. Joe Dunford, U.S. Central Command commander Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel, and
the commander of Operation Inherent Resolve, Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, the
In his meeting with the Iraqi prime minister, the defense
secretary also expressed his condolences for the recent tragic bombing in
Baghdad, the release said.
Efforts to Protect Iraqis Against ISIL
Carter said the United States is prepared to bolster its
support for Iraqi government efforts to protect Iraqi civilians from ISIL terror
attacks, according to the release.
U.S. forces already share intelligence with their Iraqi
counterparts, the defense secretary said, noting he is directing the Joint
Improvised-Threat Defeat Agency -- which leads the department's efforts to
counter improvised explosive device -- to provide additional assistance that
could enhance security in Baghdad.
Carter's visit comes as the international coalition has
intensified pressure on ISIL in both Iraq and Syria, the release said. In
addition to the capture of the airbase at Qayyarah, Iraqi forces backed by
coalition air power and other support recently freed the city of Fallujah from
ISIL's control after previous gains in Ramadi, Hit and Rutbah, according to the
In Syria, local forces backed by the coalition have
surrounded the city of Manbij, a hub for the flow of ISIL foreign fighters, the
release said. The defense secretary said the U.S. is also prepared to step up
its efforts to help vetted Syrian forces willing to take on ISIL.
To ensure ISIL's defeat is truly lasting, Carter stressed
throughout his visit the need for economic aid and reconstruction efforts to
keep pace with progress in the military campaign, the release said.
The defense secretary closed his trip to Iraq, his fourth as
secretary of defense, by thanking U.S. troops for their dedication, sacrifice
and willingness to keep America safe, the release said.
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