(By Bonny Apunyu)
Up to 450 additional U.S military personnel will be sent to Iraq to train local forces combating Islamic State militants, the White House has said. Xinhua reported Wednesday that U.S President Barack Obama has authorized the deployment of up to 450 additional troops to train, advise, and assist Iraqi Security Forces at Taqaddum military base in Iraq's Anbar province, aiming to improve the capabilities and effectiveness of partners on the ground, the White House said in a statement.
The U.S. troops will "not serve in a combat role," the statement stressed. Currently, there are 3,100 American troops deployed in Iraq. The new deployment plan will bring the number of U.S. military personnel in Iraq to about 3,550.
The statement reportedly said these new advisors will work to build capacity of Iraqi forces, including local tribal fighters, to improve their ability to plan, lead, and conduct operations against IS in Anbar.
Xinhua says the latest deployment plan will help complement the efforts of U.S. and coalition trainers at the four previously-established training sites in Al-Asad, Besmaya, Erbil, and Taji, where over 9, 000 Iraqi troops have already been trained, with an additional 3, 000 currently in training.
President Obama also approved a comprehensive approach to aid the Iraqi government's efforts to support the people and communities living in areas newly liberated from the Islamic State.