Report: 200 US soldiers arrive in Iraq's embattled Anbar
Iran Press TV
Thu Dec 10, 2015 10:46AM
The US military has deployed some 200 troops to Iraq's western province of Anbar to purportedly take part in operations to retake the territory from the Takfiri Daesh militants, a report says.
The soldiers landed at the heavily-guarded Ayn al-Asad airbase, located five kilometers southwest of the embattled city of Khan al-Baghdadi, on Wednesday, Arabic-language al-Mada newspaper reported.
The report said US soldiers are to purge areas close to the Ayn al-Asad base of Daesh militants, destroy militant positions nearby, and repel Daesh attacks against the airbase.
On Wednesday, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Washington was ready to assist the Iraqi army with more equipment and personnel to help fight against Daesh.
"The United States is prepared to assist the Iraqi army with additional unique capabilities to help them finish the job, including attack helicopters and accompanying advisers," he said.
The deployment came even as Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on December 1 that his country rejected the need for deployment of any foreign forces on its soil to battle Daesh.
"We do not need foreign ground combat forces on Iraqi land," Abadi said.
The Iraqi government "stresses that any military operation or the deployment of any foreign forces – special or not – in any place in Iraq cannot happen without its approval and coordination and full respect of Iraqi sovereignty," he pointed out.
The Iraqi Popular Mobilization forces of Kata'ib Hezbollah, the Badr Movement, and Asaib Ahl al-Haq have also pledged to combat any US troops deployed to the crisis-hit Arab country.
"We will chase and fight any American force deployed in Iraq. Any such American force will become a primary target for our group. We fought them before and we are ready to resume fighting," said Kata'ib Hezbollah spokesman, Jafaar Hussaini.
Muen al-Kadhimi, a senior aide to the leader of the Badr Organization, Hadi al-Ameri, said, "All Iraqis look to (the Americans) as occupiers who are not trustworthy."
The northern and western parts of Iraq have been plagued by violence ever since Daesh began an offensive on Iraqi territory in June 2014. Army soldiers and Popular Mobilization units have joined forces and are seeking to take back militant-held regions in joint operations.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|