Obama signals new phase in fight against ISIL

US president says the coalition is now in position to assist Iraqi forces to go on the offensive against ISIL.

    Obama signals new phase in fight against ISIL
    Obama said Americans troops 'will not do the fighting' against ISIL [EPA]

    US President Barack Obama has said sending more US troops to Iraq signals a "new phase" in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group. 

    After earlier unveiling plans to send up to 1,500 more American troops to Iraq to advise and train its forces, Obama told CBS News on Sunday that the US-led effort to defeat ISIL was moving to a new stage.

    "Phase one was getting an Iraqi government that was inclusive and credible - and we now have done that," Obama said.

    "Rather than just try to halt [ISIL's] momentum, we're now in a position to start going on some offence," he added, stressing the need for Iraqi ground troops to start pushing back ISIL fighters.

    "We will provide them close air support once they are prepared to start going on the offence against [ISIL]," Obama said.

    "But what we will not be doing is having our troops do the fighting."

    Going on the offensive will be a significant challenge for Iraq's forces, which saw multiple divisions fall apart in the early days of the ISIL June offensive, leaving major units that need to be reconstituted.

    Meanwhile, ISIL said that a British national had carried out a suicide bombing that killed a senior Iraqi police officer.

    The group said in a statement posted online that "Abu Sumayyah al-Britani" detonated a truck carrying eight tonnes of explosives on the outskirts of the northern town of Beiji, killing Major General Faisal al-Zamili.

    Friday's attack came during heavy clashes as pro-government forces seek to fully retake Beiji.

    Iraqi military said they have now reached the centre of the northern oil city.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, meanwhile said on Sunday that fighting for the border town of Kobane in neighbouring Syria had now killed more than 1,000 people, mostly jihadists.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.