WASHINGTON, September 3 (RIA Novosti) – US President Barack Obama has decided to send 350 more troops to Iraq to protect US diplomatic facilities in Baghdad, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.
"This action was taken at the recommendation of the Department of Defense after an extensive interagency review and is part of the president’s commitment to protect our personnel and facilities in Iraq as we continue to support the government of Iraq in its fight against [the Islamic State]," Earnest said in a statement.
"These additional forces will not serve in a combat role," the spokesman noted.
The report specified that the US Air Force delivered a single airstrike near Iraq's largest dam, located near the city of Mosul, Nineveh Province, in the country’s north. The attack destroyed or damaged 16 of the militants’ vehicles.
In June, the ISIS, a Sunni group that has been fighting in Syria, launched an offensive in Iraq. The group has taken over large parts of the country, with a goal of seizing Baghdad. The group has also announced the establishment of a caliphate on the Iraq-Syria border.
The ISIS currently controls large parts of northern and eastern Syria, as well as northern Iraq. On August 7, US President Barack Obama gave the green light for US airstrikes on ISIS targets, saying that the offensive would seek to lift the ISIS’ siege of Erbil to prevent the "genocide" of the Yazidi population.
On August 29, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said more than 650,000 civilians have been internally displaced in Iraq over the past few weeks, and that the total number of displaced people has reached 1.5 million.
The committee also noted that Baghdad has failed to form an “inclusive government, resulting in deepening the division in Iraqi society among sectarian and ethnic lines.”
According to the report, Iraq is currently hosting more than 220,000 Syrian refugees, mainly in Iraqi Kurdistan.
In response to measures taken by the United States, American journalist James Foley was beheaded by a member of the jihadist group. The video of the execution, titled “The Message to America,” was broadcasted on August 19 all around the world.
The journalist’s executioner argued Foley was killed because Obama had ordered airstrikes against ISIS positions in Iraq.
On September 2, another US journalist Steven Sotloff, who criticized US foreign policy before his death, was killed in the same way.