US sends more military advisers to Iraq

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The US has sent 130 more military advisers to the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, according to Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel. However, the marines and special operations forces will assess the humanitarian situation and will not be engaged in combat. “This is not a combat boots on the ground kind of operation” Hagel said in remarks made at Camp Pendleton in California. The “assessment team members” had arrived in the northern city of Irbil and would “give more in-depth assessment of where we can continue to help,” he said.

The US has been carrying out air strikes against fighters from militant group Islamic State (IS), which has forced tens of thousands to flee their homes.The UN has said that tens of thousands of civilians, including members of the Yazidi sect, are trapped on Sinjar mountain by IS fighters and need “life-saving assistance”.A US defence official said the government would continue to explore ways to support “Iraqis affected by the on-going fighting in Sinjar”, and to prevent “potential acts of genocide” by IS.

Meanwhile, Iraq’s president asked Haider al-Abadi to form a new cabinet on August 11, snubbing the incumbent PM Nouri Maliki.The move came after months of political infighting, which experts say has contributed to Iraq’s inability to fight the IS threat.

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