For the first time, Iraqi troops trained by U.S. advisers are being deployed to retake the city of Ramadi, the Pentagon has said.
News that about 3,000 U.S.-trained Iraqi Army soldiers were added to the fight came as Defense Secretary Ash Carter made his first visit to Iraq since taking office in February.
Iraqi forces, backed by U.S.-led coalition air strikes, are currently encircling Ramadi to choke off Islamic State supplies and trap their fighters ahead of a push to seize the city, said Pentagon spokesman Army Colonel Steve Warren.
He said one of the newly trained units advanced about four miles toward Ramadi within the last 24 hours.
About 500 Sunni Arab tribal fighters also have recently joined the advancing force, Warren said.
The Iraqi government intends to exclude all Shi'ite militias from the operation, even those under control of the Iraqi government. Ramadi is a predominantly Sunni city.
Based on reporting by AP and Reuters