More US special operations troops will be sent to Iraq to conduct raids on Isis positions in Iraq and Syria, US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter said. The troops will coordinate with the Iraqi government, and fight alongside Kurdish and Iraqi forces, said Carter.
"These special operators will over time be able to conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence, and capture ISIL leaders," Carter told the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, 1 December.
"That creates a virtuous cycle of better intelligence, which generates more targets, more raids, and more momentum. The raids in Iraq will be done at the invitation of the Iraqi government and focused on defending its borders and building the (Iraqi security force's) own capacity. This force will also be in a position to conduct unilateral operations into Syria."
The force is in addition to the approximately 50 special operations troops the US President Barack Obama announced in October would fight IS in Syria. Carter did not specify how many more troops will be deployed.
Obama said that the troops would be restricted to a training and support role for Kurdish forces and Arab moderate forces fighting IS, but on Monday Kurdish fighters told The Guardian that US troops were already engaging Isis on the front line.