US troop increase in Iraq signals `new phase`: Barack Obama
The deployment of an additional 1,500 American troops to Iraq marks a "new phase" in the campaign against Islamic State jihadists, US President Barack Obama said in comments broadcast Sunday.
Washington: The deployment of an additional 1,500 American troops to Iraq marks a "new phase" in the campaign against Islamic State jihadists, US President Barack Obama said in comments broadcast Sunday.
"Phase one was getting an Iraqi government that was inclusive and credible -- and we now have done that," Obama told CBS News.
"Rather than just try to halt ISIL`s momentum, we`re now in a position to start going on some offense," the president added.
Obama stressed that the US forces would not engage in combat, and would focus on training Iraqi recruits and some of the Sunni tribes that are fighting the Islamic State group.
"We will provide them close air support once they are prepared to start going on the offense against ISIL (IS)," Obama told CBS`s Face the Nation television program.
"But what we will not be doing is having our troops do the fighting."
When asked if any more US forces will be sent to Iraq in the future, Obama said: "I`m never going to say never," but said the current plan was to see fewer US troops over time.
Obama on Friday announced that the United states would send up to 1,500 additional troops to Iraq to aid the Baghdad government and Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State group, doubling the number of US troops in the country.