December 31, 2019 / 4:43 PM / 25 days ago

Additional forces being sent to U.S. embassy in Baghdad - Pentagon chief

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks about airstrikes by the U.S. military in Iraq and Syria, at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., December 29, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Tuesday that the United States was sending additional forces to its embassy in Baghdad, and called on the Iraqi government to help protect American personnel.

“We have taken appropriate force protection actions to ensure the safety of American citizens, military personnel and diplomats in country, and to ensure our right of self-defence,” Esper said in a statement.

“As in all countries, we rely on host nation forces to assist in the protection of our personnel in country, and we call on the Government of Iraq to fulfil its international responsibilities to do so,” he added.

Reporting by Idrees Ali; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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