President Barack Obama has ordered the deployment of up to 200 more American service members to reinforce security of American diplomatic facilities in Baghdad, as well as the Baghdad International Airport, he announced in a letter to Congress on Monday.
With the threat from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria growing, Obama said he is deploying the combat-ready troops to protect U.S. citizens and property in Iraq. The deployment is on top of about 170 American troops Obama ordered into Baghdad to defend the American embassy earlier in June, when an additional 100 were kept in reserve outside of Iraq, and separate from the roughly 300 Special Forces troops he has authorized to begin advising Iraqi security forces. This brings the total number of troops Obama has authorized to be sent to Iraq to nearly 800.
The additional troops include security forces, rotary-wing aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles, according to Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby.
Kirby said the approximately 200 troops arrived Sunday, and that the 100-person force that was held in reserve earlier in June will move into Baghdad as well.
“The presence of these additional forces will help enable the embassy to continue its critical diplomatic mission and work with Iraq on challenges they are facing as they confront Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),” Kirby said in a statement.