The Pentagon Sends More Troops to Iraq
Personnel will report back on the humanitarian crisis
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel says 130 more U.S. troops are now in northern Iraq, where Kurdish forces are battling Islamic State Sunni extremists.
These new advisers include Marines and some members of the other military branches. The Pentagon already has 40 people at a Joint Operations Center in Irbil, the Kurdish regional capital.
This shared headquarters likely has been working to figure out what Kurdish forces can and can’t do—and what they might be need in their fight against Islamic State. On Monday, Pres. Barack Obama announced a plan to step up military aid to Iraqi forces, including the Kurds.
But Hagel described the new contingent as an “assessment team.” The contingent will only be working to figure out “the scope of the humanitarian crisis” in the region, a DoD News report explained.
Washington is very concerned about members of the Yezidi religious minorities who are trapped on Mount Sinjar. In early August, the Air Force began airdropping food and water to the stranded civilians.
The flying branch has already distributed around 100,000 prepackaged meals and more than 27,000 gallons of potable water, according to a recent press release. The United Kingdom also has dropped supplies to the displaced Yezidis.
But Mass Communication Specialist Lori Bent noted that this new deployment would be temporary. New information suggests that the operation might actually be to rescue the Yezidis.
The assessors reportedly have four Osprey tilt-rotors that could quickly move in and out of Sinjar. These unique aircraft can fly like traditional airplanes and land like helicopters.