Anbar (IraqiNews.com) Additional U.S. forces have arrived to a military base in Iraq’s Anbar province to take part in the security campaign against Islamic State militants, a news network said Tuesday.
Sky News Arabia said on its website that the additional troops arrived at Ain al-Assad base in Anbar to partake in anticipated offensives seeking to retake Islamic State-held areas at the west of the province.
Reports in March had disclosed possible joint operations by the Iraqi and U.S. forces to clear Annah, Rawa and Qaim towns near the borders with Syria which IS has been holding since it emerged in 2014. In the same month, the Iraqi Joint Operations Command denied news regarding the arrival of 2000 U.S. Marine soldiers in Anbar to engage in the campaign.
The United States said in 2016 it was sending 600 more soldiers to Iraq as Baghdad declared a widescale offensive to retake the city of Mosul, IS’s largest stronghold in Iraq.
The United States is leading a 65-state international military coalition fighting IS in Iraq and Syria. The Iraqi government has reiterated the coalition’s role was merely to provide aerial backup as well as to give ground combat advice, but occasional reports have disclosed an actual ground involvement of U.S. troops.
According to Pentagon data, there are nearly 5000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq.