Britain doubles military trainers in Iraq

Britain doubles military trainers in Iraq

WASHINGTON – Agence France-Presse
Britain doubles military trainers in Iraq

AFP photo

Britain will double its deployment of troops to train Iraqi and Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), British Defense Minister Michael Fallon told reporters on July 20.

The additional 250 troops will bring Britain’s contingent of advisers to more than 500, he said, as allied ministers met in Washington to plan moves to defeat the jihadists.

“We will be sending an additional 250 troops into the theater over the next few weeks,” Fallon said.  

“Other countries are being asked to look for their contribution to see what more they can do.” 

Earlier, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter had said the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIL group was drawing up a plan to liberate its remaining bastions.

Allied air power and military trainers are helping Iraqi government, Kurdish militia and Syrian anti-ISIL fighters push the jihadists back to Raqqa, Syria and Mosul, Iraq.

There, in the coming months, commanders hope to defeat the ISIL “caliphate” - its heartland territory - but they admit its broader network will be harder to crack.  

Carter said July 11 that Washington will deploy 560 additional troops to aid Iraq’s fight to retake Mosul from jihadists, further deepening U.S. military involvement in the country.

Meanwhile, more than $2.1 billion in aid was raised at the Iraq donor conference, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. 

The United Nations has said that, under a worst-case scenario, it could take $2 billion in relief and stabilization funds to deal just with the civilian impact of the Mosul battle and its aftermath. 

With the early stages of the Mosul campaign underway, plans are still being finalized to provide urgent humanitarian aid and restore basic services and security for residents and as many as 2.4 million displaced people.