American military commanders are considering sending more U.S. personnel to Iraqi military outposts north of Baghdad, the New York Times reported Friday. The move could come ahead of a looming fight to retake the major northern city of Mosul from the Islamic State group.
U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said discussions between American and Iraqi officials and commanders have begun regarding how American forces would “integrate” with Iraqi military units to liberate Mosul, according to the Times. A critical question is how closely American trainers and advisers will be placed with the Iraqi military and Kurdish peshmerga during the expected battle to retake Mosul, according to Dunford.
“It’s fair to say that we will have positions up in the north that will facilitate supporting Iraqi security forces,” Dunford told reporters traveling with him in Paris, the Times reported.
Additionally, Dunford said the U.S. is contemplating a request from Turkey to train and equip “hundreds” of Syrian Arabs who have lost their homes to the Islamic State group, which is also known as ISIS.
“They want to go back and take their homelands, and we want to support them in doing that,” Dunford said, the New York Times reported.
U.S. airstrikes on Mosul in recent weeks have taken out ISIS banks and warehouses that were storing currency essential to paying ISIS fighters and keeping the city running, Fox News reported. Since conquering the western city of Ramadi from the extremists, the Iraqi government has flooded Mosul with leaflets and radio broadcasts promising liberation.
“Ramadi was a schoolyard fistfight. Mosul is the heavyweight championship bout,” said retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, a Fox News Channel contributor.