US dispatching assault force to fight ISIS in Iraq, Carter says
US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Tuesday that the American military is about to send special forces with expertise in counterterror operations to Iraq following an official request by Baghdad for assistance in its war against Islamic State. "We're at war. We're using the might of the finest fighting force the world has ever known," he told the House Armed Services Committee. Carter said the troops would "put even more pressure" on the terrorist organization.
Reports quoted US defense sources as saying that the approximately 150 special ops troops will operate in Syria and Iraq. Carter's comments marked the first time for an American official to publicly confirm that US troops will engage in fighting on the ground and not only serve as "advisors."
Immediately after the defense secretary's comments were released , Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced that no American force would be allowed to operate in Iraq without Baghdad's approval.