U.S. Trains Iraqi Forces as Battle for Tikrit Continues

TAJI, Iraq (AP) -

As the U.S. mission to Iraq expands, so do its efforts to arm and train the country’s security forces to combat the Islamic State group, with large-scale operations continuing to recapture territory from the Sunni terrorists.

Hundreds of American advisers are working at the Camp Taji military base just north of Baghdad to train Iraqi forces on issues like weaponry and better coordination and integration of ground action with coalition airstrikes.

The goal, U.S. military officials say, is to teach the different divisions of the Iraqi military how to harmonize the operations of its various fighting units.

In November, President Barack Obama authorized the deployment of up to 1,500 more American troops to bolster Iraqi forces, which could more than double the total of U.S. forces to 3,100. The boost in advisers and trainers complements the air campaign launched by the U.S. in August 2014.