Britain to send troops to train Iraqi forces: report

Britain to send troops to train Iraqi forces: report
Kurdish peshmerga fighters train in the grounds of their camp on November 3, 2014 in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq. Kurdish peshmerga forces streamed across the Syrian border from Turkey on October 31 to bolster defenders in the key border town of Kobane which is under assault by Islamic State group jihadists.

LONDON - Britain is preparing to send troops to Iraq to help train local forces to fight Islamic State militants, The Times newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The British Ministry of Defence declined to comment on the report but said an announcement would be forthcoming. The newspaper reported that several officers would join a United States headquarters in Baghdad to train and advise the Iraqi army, and that training teams could also be sent to the autonomous Kurdish region.

Last month, the Ministry of Defence announced that a team of soldiers was training Kurdish Peshmerga fighters to use heavy machine guns supplied by Britain.

Royal Air Force Tornado jets have also taken part in bombing raids in Iraq against IS, which has violently carved out large areas of control in Iraq and Syria and beheaded a series of Western hostages.

However, Prime Minister David Cameron has ruled out sending ground troops into back into Iraq, wary of committing to a new conflict six months from a general election.

The last British forces left Iraq in 2011, eight years after the US-led invasion that overthrew dictator Saddam Hussein.

 

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