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Obama authorizes 1,500 more troops to Iraq

President Obama has authorized the U.S. military to send up to 1,500 additional troops to Iraq, nearly doubling the number of soldiers in the country as the United States looks to continue its fight against militants from the Islamic State.

The deployment is expected to happen in the coming months. The soldiers will be used to train, advise and assist local forces in fighting the Islamic State and will not be used in a direct combat role.

“Ultimately, these Iraqi forces, when fully trained, will enable Iraq to better defend its citizens, its borders, and its interests against the threats of ISIL,” Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.

The Obama administration is also submitting a $5.6 billion funding request that will be used to provide training to Iraqi forces. This comes on top of a $58.6 billion request to cover general operations in the war on terror.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest says Obama has also authorized the additional personnel to operate at Iraqi military facilities outside Baghdad and Erbil. Until now, U.S. troops have been operating a joint operation center setup with Iraqi forces there.

Obama authorized a U.S.-led air campaign against Islamic State fighters in Iraq in August and expanded the mission the following month to neighboring Syria. The U.S. is taking action alongside several other nations, including a handful of regional partners.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.