The U.S. military is planning to request that more troops be sent to Iraq, the commander of U.S. Central Command has said. Joseph Votel’s comments come after the Obama administration announced the deployment of 560 extra soldiers to Iraq on Monday.
Votel told Reuters that as the campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) escalates, the U.S. mission in Iraq would need more troops in the country. With Monday’s increase, the U.S. currently has 4,600 forces assigned to Iraq (excluding soldiers on temporary deployment).
Votel did not specify exactly how many military personnel he would ask for, saying that the number was still under discussion. He also did not say when he would submit his request.
The 560 additional troops will be deployed to Iraq to help with the operation to retake the city of Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, which is under ISIS control. The mission, which also involves Iraqi forces will be largely based out of the Qayara air base, which troops recaptured from ISIS last week.
The battle for Mosul is likely to be a hard-fought one. Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said that he wants the city under government control by the end of the year. ISIS, however, sees Mosul as its Iraqi capital and one of its greatest territorial assets.
U.S. officials have warned that there needs to be a concrete plan for governing Mosul, if the army succeeds in ousting ISIS. The Iraqi government will need to restore basic services and enhance the city’s security.