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Allies to deploy 1,500 troops to Iraq: US general

US allies have expressed readiness to deploy around 1,500 security personnel to Iraq which has been battling the Takfiri ISIL militants for months.

US Lieutenant General James Terry told reporters in Kuwait City on Monday that the forces would come on top of the 3,100 troops US has authorized to send to Iraq.

According to Terry, members of the so-called US-led coalition met on December 2 and 3 in the region and made initial pledges to dispatch “close” to 1,500 forces to Iraq.

The US commander said “the large percentage” of the forces would be tasked with training and advising Iraqi troops.

It is still unclear which countries from the coalition would provide the forces or how many of them would be in uniform or otherwise.

“We’re still working through it,” Terry said, adding, “I want to give them time to go back to their nations’ capitals and work out the specifics of that.”

The so-called US-led bombing campaign against ISIL began on August 8 in Iraq. Since late September, the US and its allies have been conducting airstrikes against ISIL positions inside Syria as well, without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate.
Political experts believe that the real objective of the coalition is to expand the US military presence in the region.

Senior religious and political figures in Iraq, including Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, have called on the Baghdad government not to rely on foreign powers in the battle against the ISIL.

ISIL launched an offensive in Iraq in June and took control of the country’s second largest city, Mosul, before sweeping through parts of the country’s Sunni Arab heartland. The Takfiri militants also have seized large swathes of land in Syria.

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