WASHINGTON, June 15, 2015 – The recently announced presidential authorization of up to 450 additional U.S. troops deploying to Iraq is just one part of the 60-nation coalition’s support to the country, a U.S. Central Command spokesman said Friday.
During a telephone call with Pentagon reporters, Air Force Col. Patrick Ryder discussed the troop increase deploying to Taqaddum Air Base and provided operational highlights of the military campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
“Taqaddum is just one part of the coalition’s broader effort to support and enable Iraq to build up the capacity of their forces on the ground,” Ryder said.
He added, “As previously stated, these forces will serve in a noncombat, advise-and-assist role and will be there to assist the planning, integration and support of Iraqi security forces and tribal forces as they fight to retain territory in Anbar province.”
Ryder emphasized coalition efforts at Taqaddum, while complementary to the four building partner capacity sites, will be unique as it partners with the Anbar Operations Center and focuses on “improving and refining” military functions.
It will focus on functions such as logistics, intelligence gathering, force protection and operations planning, he said, as well as enhancing interoperability.
“By partnering coalition subject-matter experts with their ISF counterparts at Taqaddum,” Ryder said, “we’ll enhance Iraqi forces' operational planning and execution capabilities, which ultimately will contribute to success on the battlefield.”
The use of Taqaddum Air Base, he said, will provide a closer functional logistical hub for equipping and sustaining of Iraqi security personnel in their fight against ISIL in Anbar province.
Elsewhere in the region, Ryder said Kurdish forces in northern Iraq continue to maintain a “solid” defensive line against ISIL while anti-ISIL forces in northeastern Syria continue to make “significant”
progress as they retake territory from the enemy.
“Near Beiji,” he said, “ISF and [popular mobilization forces] are conducting clearing operations in the southern part of the city [and] making some forward progress, although we assess the city as still contested.”
Similarly, Ryder said the Beiji Oil Refinery also remains contested, and fighting continues there as well as near Ramadi where Iraqi security forces continue to conduct shaping operations.
Ryder concluded by discussing the Chiefs of Defense Ministers meeting which CENTCOM Commander Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III co-hosted last week in Southwest Asia.
“Twenty-nine chiefs of defense, representing the counter-ISIL coalition, participated in that meeting,” he said. “The discussions focused on the progress being made with a respect to the counter-ISIL campaign, and the partner nations reaffirmed their commitment to do whatever is required to defeat this common enemy.”
The strength of this campaign, Ryder said, is the 60-nation counter-ISIL coalition which “clearly” demonstrated its continued commitment at the conference last week.