US President Barack Obama has approved a plan to send 450 additional troops to Iraq to train and advise Iraqi forces in their fight against ISIS.
“The President authorized the deployment of up to 450 additional US military personnel to train, advise, and assist Iraqi Security Forces at Taqaddum military base in eastern Anbar province,” a White House statement said on Wednesday.
The statement said the decision was made following the request of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi and that the new troops will train local tribal forces in Anbar province in coordination with the official Iraqi army troops.
The move comes a month after ISIS captured Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province as Iraqi forces withdrew despite their superior numbers, leading to US Defense Secretary Ash Carter criticise them saying “Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight.”
Taqaddum base is located just 25 km from the combat zone in Ramadi where the fighting continues between ISIS and the Iraqi forces.
The White House said the troops will not serve in combat missions and increase the number of US military personnel in Iraq to 3,550.
With the new set of forces, the US is increasing efforts to include local Sunni tribal forces into coalition fighting ISIS and decrease the Iraqi government's reliance on Iranian-backed Shiite militias, which damage the trust of local population to the Iraqi government because of sectarian differences.
A coalition of several Sunni tribes in Anbar province pledged allegiance to ISIS last week.
In addition to training troops, the US is sending weapons to Iraqi army and the Kurdish Peshmerga forces fighting ISIS.
“The President has also directed the expedited delivery of essential equipment and materiel in coordination with the central government to Iraqi forces, including Peshmerga and tribal fighters, operating under Iraqi command, to ensure that our partners have the equipment needed to effectively fight ISIL [ISIS],” the statement said.