On Monday, a spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve confirmed to ABC News that between 200 and 300 additional U.S. troops would be sent to Mosul to assist Iraqi troops in taking back the city from the Islamic State. Colonel Joseph Scrocca told ABC News that two companies of soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division’s second combat brigade are being sent to “advise and assist” the Iraqis in their mission.
“This is not a new capability,” Scrocca told ABC News. “It provides more advise and assist assets to our Iraqi partners.”
There are already approximately 1,700 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne in Iraq and Kuwait. Earlier news reports speculated that the Pentagon could send up to 1,000 troops to assist in the mission. Scrocca acknowledged that the earlier speculated numbers are much larger than the actual.
“The number of soldiers does not equate to the remainder of the brigade as had previously been surmised,” Scrocca said.
Iraq has an authorized troop cap of 5,262, though the actual number is larger due to the additional troops that are in the country on temporary assignment that do not count towards the cap.
According to media reports on Sunday, Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the top commander of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, had made the decision to send an additional 200 U.S. troops to the Middle East, though details of where or when were not immediately specified.
Earlier this month, Townsend told reporters: “I don’t foresee us bringing in large numbers of coalition troops, mainly because what we’re doing is in fact working.”