Obama: U.S. giving more support to Iraq as it fights Islamic State

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said in an interview broadcast on Monday that the United States is providing more support to Iraq as its military moves to take back territory from Islamic State, and he expects the city of Mosul will be retaken eventually.

“As we see the Iraqis willing to fight and gaining ground, let’s make sure that we are providing them more support,” Obama said in an interview with CBS News.

U.S. officials announced in Baghdad on Monday the United States will deploy about 200 additional troops, mostly as advisers for Iraqi troops as they advance toward Mosul, the largest Iraqi city still under Islamic State control.

The increase raises the authorized U.S. troop level in Iraq to 4,087, not including special operations personnel, some logistics workers and troops on temporary rotations.

“We’re not doing the fighting ourselves,” Obama said, “but when we provide training, when we provide special forces who are backing them up, when we are gaining intelligence, working with the coalitions that we have, what we’ve seen is that we can continually tighten the noose” on Islamic State.

“My expectation is that by the end of the year, we will have created the conditions whereby Mosul will eventually fall,” Obama said.

Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Leslie Adler