The US has requested Britain to send its troops to Iraq as additional reinforcements to battle Islamic (Isis) militants. British troops could assist Iraqi ground forces by providing them with medical and engineering support, and impart training to officers to boost their fight against IS (Daesh).
To increase the impact of coalition forces in Mosul – the second largest city in northern Iraq – US Defence Secretary Ash Carter requested the UK to send in its "military trainers". This request comes on the heels of the news that a senior US Navy Seal, advising Kurdish troops, had been shot dead by IS militants.
According to estimates, coalition air strikes in the last two years have led to IS losing approximately 40% of the area they were controlling in Iraq and between 10% and 20% in Syria.
However, a defence official told BBC that although nothing has been finalised, a few hundred army personnel could be deployed in the war-torn country.
UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has insisted "[Britain should] make no mistake – Iraqi forces have Daesh on the back foot and are retaking territory, hitting its finances and striking its leadership. Now is the time to build on recent success and we are looking hard at what more we can offer as Iraqi combat operations intensify."
In March 2016, UK had sent 30 additional military personnel to provide specialist medical assistance, logistics and bridge building expertise to Iraqi forces. The total number of British troops in Iraq has now gone up to 300.
Fallon will be meeting his international counterparts in Germany on 4 May to discuss further options of extending military support to military forces in Iraq and Syria to battle the militants.