The U.S. military will be sending 100 additional troops to Iraq to serve as advisers and to conduct raids, free hostages, and capture Islamic State leaders, said defense officials on Dec. 2. This will raise the number of troops authorized for Iraq, which until now has been limited to 3,500, reports Military Times.
“A raid is a combat operation, there is no way around that,” said Army Col. Steve Warren, a Department of Defense spokesperson in Baghdad. “So, yeah, more Americans will be coming here to Iraq, and some of them will be conducting raids inside of both Iraq and Syria.”
The steady upscaling of American military involvement in the fight against the Islamic State — from the 50 special operations troops sent to Syria at the end of October, to the ramping up of American airstrikes — has led to questions about mission creep, which military leadership has flatly denied.
“Mission creep … it's not really a doctrinal phrase. We see this as conducting operations to defeat ISIL. That's our mission — our mission: defeat ISIL. So no, this is not mission creep,” said Warren.