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Iraq forces likely need help to regain territory: US

Published on Jul 4, 2014 1:50 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US military's top officer said on Thursday that Iraqi forces had shored up their defences around Baghdad but would need outside help to eventually regain territory lost to Sunni militants.

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a news conference that the initial impression from American military advisers on the ground was that Iraqi forces were not yet in a position to stage a major counter-offensive after being driven back by the Sunni extremists.

"If you are asking me will the Iraqis, at some point, be able to go back on the offensive to recapture the part of Iraq that they've lost... probably not by themselves," Gen Dempsey said.

But the Iraqi army's shortcomings did not necessarily mean the United States would have to take military action, he said.

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