US forces flow into Baghdad to assess Iraq troops

(Nick Laham, Getty Images)
(Nick Laham, Getty Images)
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Updated: 6/24 3:48 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon said Tuesday that nearly half of the roughly 300 advisers and special operations forces expected to go to Iraq are now in Baghdad, and have begun to assess the Iraqi forces and the fight against Sunni militants.

Another four teams of special forces will arrive in days, officials said, bringing the total to almost 200.

Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, also said the U.S. is conducting up to 35 surveillance missions over Iraq to provide intelligence on the situation on the ground, as Iraqi troops battle the aggressive and fast-moving insurgency.

Kirby said about 90 of the U.S. troops are setting up a joint operations center in Baghdad -- and that the insurgency is well organized and aided by foreign fighters and Sunni sympathizers in the country.

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