The United States is beefing up its military presence in Iraq by deploying around 300 additional troops, including attack helicopters and drones to aid Iraqi military in Baghdad, officials said on Monday.
The decision declared by the Pentagon, granted them a security role at Baghdad International Airport on the front line against any attacks by an al-Qaeda splinter group, three years after the U.S.'s military withdrawal.
A U.S. defense official states that this strategy was mainly for the protection of American personnel in Iraq, including civilians.
“This is not about preparations toward air strikes,” the official said, speaking anonymously.
The Pentagon said around 200 forces has been deployed in Iraq on Sunday, to strengthen security at the U.S. embassy, support facilities and Baghdad international airport.
The same official also stated that another 100 troops reached Iraq and many of them would also be stationed at the airport.
“I think there's an appropriate level of concern about the airport,” the official told Reuters news agency, stating it was a key strategic point for transportation.
President Barack Obama sanctioned the deployment of the 300 military advisors in Iraq, partially to establish two joint operation centers. This will help the U.S. to evaluate if any additional support is needed. Around 180 of those advisors are already in Iraq.
This decision by Obama is an attempt to aid Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to push back militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) who have made shocking advances towards the capital.
Another U.S. official, also speaking anonymously, said the United States was also aiming to establish another joint military operations center in Iraq's Kurdish region.
Although the decisions are not finalized, the official also mentioned that the new operations center could be placed in the province of Duhok, north of Iraq near Syria and Turkey.
Source: Al Arabiya; Agencies