Approximately 1,000 paratroopers from the Army’s famed 82nd Airborne Division will deploy to Iraq early next year to help the Iraqi security forces take on the Islamic State, the Pentagon announced Friday.
The soldiers from the 82nd’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, based at Fort Bragg, N.C., will begin to deploy in late January to train, advise and assist the ISF, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters.
Their mission is part of the coalition effort to build up the Iraqi army and Kurdish peshmerga so that they can recapture territory from Islamic State militants.
The paratroopers are preparing for a nine-month deployment, according to a spokeswoman for the 82nd Airborne.
Approximately 300 troops from other Army, Air Force and Marine Corps units will also deploy to provide “enabler” support in areas such as counterintelligence, logistics, and signals, Kirby said.
Backed by U.S. airstrikes, the assault ended the months-long ordeal of hundreds of people from Iraq's Yazidi religious minority, who had been besieged on the mountain since ISIS stormed Sinjar and other Kurdish-controlled parts of northern Iraq in August. "All those Yazidis that were trapped on the mountain are now free," Barzani said. The peshmerga had not yet begun to evacuate them, he added.(H/t Weasel Zippers)