Sylvia said he hopes the U.S. doesn’t fully withdraw from Iraq a second time. (AP Photo/Susannah George)
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Thirteen years ago, Chase Snow's father was among the American troops who moved into the Iraqi city of Mosul during the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.The assault on Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, is bringing American forces into their most significant role in Iraq in years, in terms of numbers and presence on the front lines.The lead-up to the assault has already brought some U.S. forces into combat with the militants. U.S. presence at bases closer to Mosul in the lead up to operation is "essential" to the advise-and-assist mission, said U.S. Army Col. Brett Sylvia, the commanding officer at Camp Swift, a small coalition base outside Makhmour, some 73 kilometers southeast of Mosul.As of last week, there were 4,565 U.S. troops in Iraq, according to the Pentagon.Obama drew down the forces until the complete withdrawal of late 2011 removed all combat troops from the country, leaving behind only a few hundred U.S. trainers, mainly civilians, to assist Iraqi security forces.Over the past year, three American service members have been killed by Daesh in Iraq, revealing the increasingly active role of U.S. forces in a fight the Pentagon initially refused to describe as combat.
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