WASHINGTON — The Pentagon says 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, bringing the total to almost 200.
Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, also says 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 says about 90 of the U.S. troops are setting up a joint operations center in Baghdad. He says the insurgency is well organized and aided by foreign fighters and Sunni sympathizers in the country.