US troops in Iraq now number more than 1,000

BAGHDAD, IRAQ  (CNN) -- President Barack Obama on Tuesday authorized additional troops be deployed to Iraq to protect American diplomatic facilities and personnel in Baghdad.

The 350 troops are being sent at the request of the U.S. Department of State to beef up security, an appeal that comes as the violence mounts as Iraqi security forces battle ISIS fighters and their Sunni militant allies.

"The request he approved today will allow some previously deployed military personnel to depart Iraq, while at the same time providing a more robust, sustainable security force for our personnel and facilities in Baghdad," according to a statement released by the White House.

The new troops will bring the number of American troops in Iraq to well over 1,000, with most serving either as diplomatic security or military advisers to Iraq's security forces.

Even as the Pentagon and the White House stressed the new troops were not being sent to Iraq in a combat role, they will be arriving at a critical time.

Iraqi forces, aided by U.S. military airstrikes, have begun to make gains against ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State.


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