One of the most legendary units in United States military history is joining the fight against ISIS. An additional 300 United States paratroopers are headed to Iraq from Fort Bragg in North Carolina. The soldiers are members of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. The legendary Army unit’s participation marks escalated efforts by the Trump Administration to remove Islamic State fighters from the besieged city of Mosul.
As reported by the Military Times, the paratroopers will make up two infantry companies along with a route-clearance platoon, representing the division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team. Functionally, the soldiers are anticipated to provide support to Iraqi forces currently fighting ISIS, including in the Mosul area. Additionally, the route-clearance platoon will perform duties related to the disabling and removal of roadside threats, including bombs.
Additional duties may also be assigned to the soldiers heading to Iraq. The U.S. Army released additional photos of soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division in late February and into early March, many of them depicting soldiers in and around the Mosul area, performing duties where they maintained various posts in support of the current mission.
At this time, 1,700 members of the 82nd Airborne are already deployed to various locations in Iraq and Kuwait. As reported by ABC News, Colonel Joseph Scrocca, an Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman, stated the mission is to provide “advise and assist” style support: “This is not new capability. It provides more advice and assist assets to our Iraqi partners.”
The exact number of military personnel in Iraq is not being disclosed by officials, though more than 6,000 are expected to be in the region. This is well above the authorized force size of 5,262, but many of the assignments are being classed as “non-enduring” and may not be counted toward to limit.
While the deployment of the paratroopers from the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division is being called temporary by U.S. officials, no information has been provided regarding the anticipated duration of this troop movement.
Efforts in Mosul are slow moving, and the extra troops were considered justified to help combat ISIS in the area. Troops have also been directed to assist allies fighting ISIS near the city of Raqqa in Syria, including Marines attached to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit that, according to Military.com, made their way into Syria to establish an artillery base.
At this time, ISIS considers the city of Raqqa to be its capital. The precise number of troops currently in Syria is not currently being disclosed, and the intention to escalate efforts in the country is also disputed. While the Trump administration has been relatively open regarding its intention to fight ISIS, few details regarding a strategy have been made available.