President Barack Obama on Friday unveiled plans to send 1,500 additional troops to Iraq to help Baghdad government forces strike back at Islamic State jihadists, roughly doubling the number of US soldiers in the country.

The move marked a deepening US commitment in the open-ended war against the IS group, three months since American aircraft launched air strikes against the Sunni extremists.

The move extends the US training and advising mission to new areas as Iraqi and Kurdish forces prime themselves to recapture ground lost to the IS group, including in the volatile Anbar province in the west where the Iraqi army has been on the retreat.

The reinforcements were “part of our strategy for strengthening partners on the ground” but the troops would have a “non-combat role,” the White House said in a statement.

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