20 Oct 2014

Australian troops to deploy in Iraq

9:13 am on 20 October 2014

Australia has reached an agreement with Iraq to allow 200 special forces personnel to train local troops to fight against Islamic State (IS).

Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop.

Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop. Photo: AFP

The unit has been held up in United Arab Emirates for a month, because Iraq would not give it the legal protection Australia demanded.

Australia has committed a total of 600 troops to the fight, and its pilots began bombing raids earlier this month.

Foreign minister Julie Bishop talking to reporters in Baghdad said the military will now decide when to deploy the special forces group.

Ms Bishop said the special forces mission would be to "advise and assist the Iraqi government in building up the capacity of the Iraqi security forces".

During her trip, Ms Bishop reiterated that Australian forces would be deployed in an advisory capacity and that Canberra had no plans to send ground troops to fight alongside Iraqi forces.

Australia was one of the first nations to join the United States's aerial campaign against IS, which controls large parts of Iraq and Syria and is increasingly seen as a global threat.