WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) -- A senior U.S. military officer says the Pentagon will consider opening more small outposts that would provide artillery support and other aid to Iraqi forces as they prepare to retake the northern city of Mosul.
Rear. Adm. Andrew Lewis told reporters Wednesday there may be situations where the U.S. would either open a base or reopen one that was used in the earlier Iraq war. He said the base would be behind the front lines, and would be used the way U.S. Marines are operating out of what is known as Fire Base Bell.
“We have a series of recommendations that we will be discussing with the president in the coming weeks to further enable our support for the Iraqi security forces,” Marine Corps Gen. and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford said, the Military Times reported. “The secretary and I both believe that there will be an increase to the U.S. forces in Iraq in the coming weeks but that decision hasn’t been made."
Fewer than 200 Marines are at Fire Base Bell outside Makhmour. They have provided targeting assistance and artillery fire for the Iraqis, in a recent expansion of the U.S. combat role in Iraq.
The U.S. force level in Iraq is currently capped at 3,870, but the Military Times reported the real number of American troops in the Middle Eastern country, including those there on "temporary" deployment, is closer to 5,000.