US President Barack Obama has committed an additional 300 American troops to shore up security in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad with a mission to protect its international airport, the US embassy and other American properties there, international media reported on Monday.
The Pentagon announced that 200 troops had arrived in Baghdad on Sunday and will soon be joined by 100 more. This will bring the total number of US military personnel in Iraq to 750.
The Pentagon’s press secretary, Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby, said in a written statement that 100 troops, who have been on standby in the Middle East since mid-June, are also scheduled to move into Baghdad to provide security and logistical support.
“This force is deploying for the purpose of protecting US citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat,” Obama wrote in a letter to Congress.
Obama, who had ruled out sending combat troops back into Iraq, added: “This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed.”
Officials in the Pentagon said that these forces are equipped with helicopters and drones to improve airfield security and travel routes in Baghdad.