December 2, 2015 / 4:48 PM / 2 years ago

New U.S. force for Iraq to number around 100: U.S. military

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter (L) and Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., testify before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on "U.S. Strategy for Syria and Iraq and its Implications for the Region.", in Washington December 1, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A new force of special operations troops being deployed by the United States to Iraq will likely number around 100, U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren said on Wednesday.

“It will be ... probably around 100, maybe a little bit less,” said Warren, a spokesman for the U.S.-led military campaign against Islamic State. “It’s really going to be a majority support personnel, everything from ... aviators to collectors. So actual forces who will do offensive or kinetic operations, it’s a very small number, double digit.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the deployment of the force in congressional testimony on Tuesday. A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, had told Reuters on Tuesday that the total number might be around 200.

A cap on the number of U.S. forces authorized to operate in Iraq, currently at 3,550, would be raised by about 100, Warren said.

“We expect that ... when we combine the actual trigger pullers with all of the various support personnel that are required, the end state is going to be about 100 up from where we are now,” Warren said.

Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati and Phil Stewart; Editing by Doina Chiacu and James Dalgleish

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