Nine hundred South Korean troops will be sent to Kurdish-controlled Irbil in early August, followed by about 1,100 troops between late August and early September, Defence Ministry spokesman Nam Dai-yeon said. Another 1,000 soldiers will travel to Iraq later.

South Korea already has 600 military medics and engineers in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah, many of whom will travel to northern Iraq in mid-July to prepare facilities ahead of the new arrivals, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said.

‘Our troop dispatch to Iraq is to assist the quick establishment of peace and reconstruction of Iraq, to develop the South Korea-U.S. alliance, and for our national interest, and to contribute to peace and stability in the world,’ Nam said.

South Korea had planned to send troops to the northern Iraqi town of Kirkuk in April, but the plan was canceled amid concerns it would involve combat operations, which violates a parliamentary mandate for peacekeeping duties only.