20:09 GMT +323 March 2018
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    US soldiers prepare to participate in a training mission with Iraqi Army soldier, right, outside Baghdad, Iraq. (File)

    US Ground Forces in Iraq ‘Not Limited’ to 3,500 - Joint Chiefs Chairman

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    US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford said that he does not feel inhibited from recommending additional forces US forces in Iraq to President Barack Obama, "that would cause us to grow greater than 3,500."

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US ground presence in Iraq is not limited to the current force levels, but can change to adapt to the fight against the Islamic State, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford said on Tuesday.

    "I do not believe we are limited by the number 3,500," Dunford told the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee of the current US troop presence in Iraq.

    Dunford added that he does not feel inhibited from recommending additional forces to President Barack Obama, "that would cause us to grow greater than 3,500, were I to believe that would help us to defeat ISIL [Islamic State]."

    At the beginning of June, Obama announced an additional deployment of 450 troops to Iraq to support the fight against the Islamic State. He also announced the deployment of 50 Special Operations personnel to Syria at the end of October.

    In recent months, a handful of Republican presidential candidates have advocated increasing the US presence in Iraq to at least 10,000 troops.


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