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130 additional U.S. military advisers arrive in Iraq
About 130 American military advisers have arrived in Iraq to help with its humanitarian aid in north area of the country, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Tuesday.
Hagel made the announcement at Camp Pendleton,California, saying that the new detachment arrived Tuesday in the Kurdish capital of Erbil, where it will help develop options to rescue a large group of civilians besieged by the Sunni terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The troops are there to "take a closer look and give a more in-depth assessment of where we can continue to help the Iraqis," Hagel said, insisting that the troops are not there for combat and the American mission remains "limited."
Hagel restated President Barack Obama' s belief that only a new, inclusive Iraqi government could end the crisis there.
"As the president has made very clear, we're not going back into Iraq in any of the same combat mission dimensions that we once were in Iraq," he said.
The new detachment brings the total number of American troops in Iraq to more than 900, including previous teams of special operators and other troops sent since the ISIL crisis flared up in June.
Ninety U.S. military advisers had already been in Baghdad and 160 in United States operations centers in Erbil and Baghdad. Meanwhile, there are another 455 U.S. security forces and 100 military personnel working in the Office of Security Cooperation in the United States Embassy in Baghdad.
Hagel, who landed in California following a trip to Australia, said Canberra and Paris had signed on to increase their involvement but he did not describe how or when that could happen.
Obama has sought to internationalize the response to the crisis and so far found the most success with Britain, which has sent humanitarian airdrops and warplanes of its own.
[Source: Xinhua, Washington, 12Aug14]
War in Iraq
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