The United States is contemplating sending special operation forces and attack helicopters to Syria and Iraq to help in the fight against Islamic State.
The Obama administration is pressured to strengthen the American presence on ground in the Middle East because of ISIS advances in Iraq, especially after their latest conquest of the Iraqi city of Ramadi in May and the failed attempt of the military program aimed to train and equip Syrian rebels in the fight against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as well as ISIS, but only managing to train a handful of Syrian moderates.
However, President Barack Obama is considering this action as one that he does not want to enact, because the end of his presidency is nearing and he has been building his campaign on the ground of withdrawing American troops from the Middle East.
According to Reuters, two anonymous U.S. officials have said that the administration is considering the option of deploying special operations teams in Syria in order to help Syrian moderates and advise them.
They also say that other options include sending Apache attack helicopters in Iraq and U.S. forces to operate them, as well as sending special operation forces to advise the Iraqi army on how to reclaim the lost territory from the Islamic State.
The Pentagon has also issues a statement earlier on Tuesday showing their intent to escalate the military activity in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter attended a Senate hearing in front of the Armed Services Committee to testify for the action last week aimed at freeing hostages in Iraq, but ended with the death of an American commando.
According to Reuters, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter stated “We won’t hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against ISIS or conducting such missions directly, whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground.”
Ash Carter was joined at the hearing by Marine Corp General Joseph Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who said that he will be considering of deploying more U.S. forces to join the Iraqi forces in the fight against ISIS. He stated “If it had operational or strategic impact and we could reinforce success, that would be the basic framework within which I’d make a recommendation for additional forces to be co-located with Iraqi units.”
President Barack Obama is aware of the unpopular wars in the Middle East and is resisting further commitment, but this option is seen by him and his administration as the most viable one in the fight against the Jihadist extremists in Iraq and Syria.