But Turkey has insisted the added troops were needed to protect its forces from attacks by IS – a concern that gained new relevance Wednesday when IS militants attacked the camp, killing three Iraqi Sunni fighters and wounding several Turkish trainers.
The U.S. military noted that it still had 12 A-10 strike aircraft as well as drone aircraft at Incirlik.
The US, which has around 3,500 troops in Iraq now, has said it is willing to deploy advisers and attack helicopters to help Iraq retake Ramadi, west of Baghdad. “The pesh got a little bit of a black eye, but they put the other guy in the hospital”, said Col. Warren. “It’s kind of hard to inflict support on somebody”, he said.
“From the outset, we tried to resolve this matter through bilateral channels”.
Turkey’s military said the camp was hit by Katyusha rockets fired by ISIL during a battle with Iraq’s Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.
“The point is [the USA mission] bore the fruit we had hoped to”, Carter said. The U.S. intends to replace six of the departing F-15s with a like number of additional A-10s, according to a senior U.S. defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deployment has not been announced.
IS – which counts Mosul as its main Iraqi hub – claimed responsibility for the assault in a statement posted online, although it said it used rockets rather than mortars.
“The Vice President reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to Iraqi sovereignty and territorial integrity and called on Turkey to do the same by withdrawing any military forces from Iraqi territory that have not been authorized by the Iraqi government“, the White House said in a statement.
Odom estimated that at least 180 Islamic State fighters were killed in action.
Details of the plan have not been disclosed, and US officials haven’t said when they may deploy to Iraq.
Carter also met with Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al Obeidi, who told him that after Iraqi troops retake Ramadi from ISIS, they would prepare for “a big battle” to reclaim Mosul and Nineveh province.
A US-led worldwide coalition of around 60 nations, including Australia, has been conducting airstrikes against Daesh targets in Iraq and Syria since August 2014. But he said they were able to eventually regain the territory and beat back the insurgents. He has publicly pressed Turkey and other coalition allies to take a more assertive role in the campaign against Islamic State.
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