The United States Department of Defence has revealed that hundreds of more American troops are serving in Iraq than previously acknowledged.
The Pentagon had stated that there were 3,550 U.S. forces on the ground in Iraq to train and equip Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi security forces in the fight against the Islamic State (IS); but the number has been increased to 3,870 troops.
Baghdad-based U.S. military spokesman Steve Warren said on Wednesday that it was “fair to say” that there are hundreds of more troops than even that figure, arguing that it is a part of the natural rotation of incoming and outgoing forces.
However, the US military officials insist that the deployed troops are training Iraqi and Kurdish forces, and they will not be involved in any combat role.
US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter previously underlined the need for extra coalition troops to fight IS more affectively.
Additionally, the Pentagon in recent months said it was sending about 50 special operation forces to work with anti-IS fighters in Syrian Kurdistan, and dozens more elite commandos from a “specialized expeditionary targeting force” are in Iraq working alongside local Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces battling the IS group.