Iraqi and Peshmerga forces fighting the self-proclaimed Islamic State group will soon have extra backup from coalition allies.
The US military says a number of unspecified countries have agreed to contribute 1,500 troops, mostly for training – this on top of an extra 3,000 US troops President Obama has already authorised for deployment to Iraq.
The outgoing US defence secretary has made a surprise visit to Baghdad.
Speaking in Kuwait before going on to the Iraqi capital, Chuck Hagel said Iraqi forces had made progress against ISIL.
“I do believe and know and we have measurable, tangible means of measuring this, that the Iraqi security forces, Peshmerga, along with coalition support and help, including the United States, has in fact allowed the Iraqi security forces to take back some ground. It’s given them some new momentum, organisation, structure,” Hagel told reporters.
The city of Beiji, some 250 kilometres north of Baghdad was captured by Iraqi forces recently.
It had fallen under the control of ISIL in June and is home to Iraq’s largest oil refinery.
Other gains made by Iraqi forces include the Mosul dam.
The coalition against the extremist group now includes nearly 40 countries, according to the US.