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Iran Press TV

US forces start training Iraqi troops: Dempsey

Iran Press TV

Sun Nov 16, 2014 11:45PM GMT

America's top military officer General Martin Dempsey says US forces have already started training Iraqi troops in the western part of the country.

Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an interview with the Reuters news agency published on Sunday that a group of US military advisers are now in Ain al-Asad air base in Iraq's Anbar province. 'We have a train, advise and assist team in al-Asad air base.'

'There's enough there that are already working with the seventh division to help them plan and help them understand the threat, to advise them on how to consolidate their forces,' he added.

The American forces' presence in Anbar is part of a plan to expand the US mission in Iraq, with the goal of fighting the ISIL. The expansion is taking place sooner than what had been announced.

Dempsey arrived in Baghdad on Saturday on an unannounced visit to meet US commanders on expansion of assistance to Iraqi and Kurdish forces fighting ISIL terrorists.

His visit came just days after he told Congress that the US would consider sending more troops to Iraq to join the campaign against the ISIL.

"I'm not predicting at this point that I would recommend those [Iraqi] forces in Mosul and along the border would need to be accompanied by U.S. forces, but we're certainly considering it," Dempsey told the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

President Barack Obama authorized dispatching up to 1,500 forces to Iraq last week, which would approximately double the planned US troop presence.

US warplanes have been conducting airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq with some other Western states participating in some of the airstrikes in the country.

Since late September, the US and some of its Arab allies have been carrying out airstrikes against ISIL inside Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate.

GJH/GJH



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