President Barack Obama defended his decision to send more than 200 additional U.S. ground troops to Iraq to assist them in fighting Islamic State terrorists now occupying the city of Mosul.
“As we see the Iraqis willing to fight and gaining ground, we must make sure that we are providing them more support,” he said after Defense Secretary Ash Cater announced additional forces to assist Iraqi security forces to combat ISIS.
Obama commented on the latest deployment of troops to the Middle East in an interview with CBS reporter Charlie Rose.
Obama said that the soldiers would not be fighting, but would train and assist Iraqi forces.
But Obama’s latest mini-surge includes AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, an additional HIMARS rocket launcher, plus $415 million in financial assistance to Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.
“[W]hat we’ve seen is that we can continually tighten the noose,” Obama said in the interview.
That brings the total the total number of U.S. troops in Iraq to 4,087.
A hopeful Obama predicted that Mosul would fall by the end of his presidency. “My expectation is that by the end of the year, we will have created the conditions whereby Mosul will eventually fall,” he said.