President Obama insists he will not have “boots on the ground” in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), but the line between a combat and advisory role is blurry.
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Obama plans to send more than 1,600 troops to Iraq as “advisers” to the military, and all of them could find themselves in harm’s way.
About 800 of the troops are providing security for diplomatic personnel and property, including infantry soldiers and Marines. Although they do not have a combat mission, they are armed and prepared to defend themselves.
Several hundred more troops will work closely with Iraqi and Kurdish forces to train and advise them about how to fight ISIS on the ground.