U.S. military advisers begin working with Iraqi forces

The first teams of up to 300 U.S. military advisers have begun their mission in Baghdad to assist the Iraqi army in its fight against Sunni extremists, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Admiral John Kirby told reporters that "we have begun to deploy initial assessment teams" and two teams of about 40 troops "have started their new mission."

The first two teams were drawn from the US embassy in Iraq, and an additional 90 troops had arrived to set up a joint operations center in Baghdad, Kirby said. Another 50 troops were due to deploy in the next few days, he added.

"These teams will assess the cohesiveness and readiness of Iraqi security forces, hire headquarters in Baghdad, and examine the most effective and efficient way to introduce follow-on advisers," he said.

The advisers would relay their findings to commanders within "the next two to three weeks."

[Image via Agence France-Presse]