The Pentagon is mulling all options for the fight against ISIS, including deploying U.S. troops to fight in Northern Syria.
CNN reported on Wednesday that Secretary of Defense James Mattis hasn’t ruled out ground troops in Syria as the Pentagon prepares to send recommendations to President Donald Trump, who ordered an ISIS strategy by the end of February. If Mattis recommends the deployment of troops on the ground, the first battalions could set foot on Syrian soil within weeks.
During his confirmation hearing, Gen. Mattis said that when it came to fighting ISIS, he favored a solution that would result in the terrorist group’s defeat “as rapidly as possible,” envisioning “a more accelerated campaign” against the group that still occupies parts of Iraq and Syria. If they were to be deployed, troops would likely land in Kuwait first, and then move into Syria. CNN reported that ground troops would also be in place to assure Turkey that Kurdish forces currently fighting ISIS wouldn’t be a threat to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s interests.
It wasn’t made immediately clear which solution Trump would prefer, or if the troops sent to Syria would fight alongside Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s troops, who have also been fighting ISIS, as they constitute the majority of the opposition to his regime along with other radical Islamic groups, including al-Qaeda. It also isn’t clear how many troops would be deployed, or how long U.S. forces would stay in Syria. Russian president Vladimir Putin is an ally of Assad, and has been conducting airstrikes on ISIS forces since 2015, at the request of the Assad regime.
Tom Cahill is a writer for US Uncut based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact him via email at [email protected], or follow him on Facebook.