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Allies to send 1,500 security personnel to Iraq: US

AFP , Monday 8 Dec 2014
Iraqi police special forces
Iraqi police special forces.(Photo: Reuters)
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Members of a US-led coalition are ready to send roughly 1,500 security personnel to Iraq to help the Baghdad government in its fight against Islamic State group, the American commander of the war effort said Monday.

Coalition partners meeting last week in the region made initial pledges that would bring "close" to 1,500 forces to Iraq to train and assist the country's army, in addition to the Americans already mobilised, Lieutenant General James Terry told reporters in Kuwait City.

The US general did not indicate which countries from the coalition would provide the security personnel or give a breakdown of how many of them would be in uniform or otherwise.

Terry said he was encouraged at the willingness of allies to send trainers and advisers to the December 2-3 meeting and that the details of the contributions were still being discussed.

"We're still working through it," he said. "I want to give them time to go back to their nations' capitals and work out the specifics of that."

But he said "the large percentage" of the contributions would be aimed at training Iraqi troops to "build partner capacity".

There are already about 1,500 US personnel in Iraq providing security for the American embassy and advising the Baghdad government's army and Kurdish forces.

President Barack Obama has approved the deployment of another 1,500 to bolster the training and advising effort.

Terry said much of his work was aimed at coordinating international coalition against the Islamic State (IS) group.

The general also said Iraqi security forces were steadily improving but remained months away from staging large-scale offensives.

"While they still have a long to go I think they're becoming more capable every day," he said.

The IS group meanwhile was "on the defence, trying to hold what they had gained but still able to conduct some limited attacks out there."

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