SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)- The Pentagon says about 50 US troops arrived in the western Iraqi province of Anbar on Monday, ostensibly to fight ISIL terrorists.
“I can confirm that approximately 50 US military personnel are visiting Al-Asad Air Base to conduct a site survey of facilities for potential future use as an advise and assist operation location in support of Iraq Security Forces,” Pentagon spokeswoman Commander Elissa Smith said on Monday.
The troops are reportedly preparing the way for a larger contingent due to arrive in the coming weeks.
This is the first US troop deployment to the country in the so-called anti-ISIL campaign.
In an interview on Sunday, US President Barack Obama said the deployment of additional troops to Iraq marks a “new phase” in the fight against ISIL.
On Friday, Obama authorized the deployment of up to 1,500 troops to Iraq, approximately doubling the force the Pentagon has built up in the country since June.
“The airstrikes have been very effective in degrading ISIL’s capabilities and slowing the advance that they were making,” Obama said. “Now what we need is ground troops, Iraqi ground troops, that can start pushing them back.”
Meanwhile, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said the country has carried out its first drone attack against ISIL terrorists in Baiji, north of Baghdad.
The drone was controlled remotely from a base in the east of England. London has repeatedly insisted it will not be deploying combat troops on the ground.
Some political analysts believe the US-led coalition against the ISIL Takfiris has ulterior motives since the US and its allies have been accused of supporting the insurgency in the region.
The ISIL terrorists, who were initially trained by the CIA in Jordan in 2012 to destabilize the Syrian government, now control large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria.
US warplanes have been conducting airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq since early August. Some Western states have also participated in some of the strikes in Iraq.
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.