The Department of Defense (DOD) is “considering” sending American ground combat troops to Syria as part of the Trump administration’s efforts to “hasten the defeat” of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), a Pentagon spokesman has confirmed.
Citing an unnamed U.S. defense official, CNN first reported that the Pentagon “might propose that the US send conventional ground combat forces into northern Syria for the first time to speed up the fight against ISIS.”
Asked to comment on the report, U.S. Marine Corp Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway, the Pentagon spokesman, told Breitbart News in a statement:
We are in the process of conducting our 30-day review of the strategy to defeat ISIS as directed by the President. We are considering a number of measures to accelerate the campaign as part of that review, but no decisions have been made. The Secretary is actively engaged with his combatant commanders and commanders on the ground to listen to their recommendations and to provide them with the resources and authorities they need to hasten the defeat of ISIS.
The DOD spokesman did not elaborate on how many ground troops President Donald Trump’s administration would deploy to Syria.
CNN learned from the unnamed defense official that any such deployment would ultimately have to be approved by President Donald Trump.
Additional troops could be on the ground “within weeks” if the deployment is approved, notes the news network.
The deployment of combat ground troops would mark a fundamental change in the U.S. approach to the war against ISIS in Syria.
Former President Barack Obama never approved sending combat troops into Syria.
Instead, he deployed small teams, predominantly made up of Special Operations forces, to provide training and assistance to local groups fighting ISIS on the ground.
Obama’s threats against the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad regime proved to be empty.
The former president only authorized airstrikes against the Islamic State and al-Qaeda-linked groups, ignoring the massacre of civilians at the hands of Assad, particularly in Aleppo.
Amid reports that the city of Aleppo had nearly fallen to Russia and Iran-backed forces loyal to Assad near the end of Obama’s presidency in December 2016, the Pentagon announced that the former commander-in-chief had approved the deployment of 200 additional U.S. troops to Syria, bringing the total number to about 500.
Former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter revealed that the additional American forces would include “special operations forces trainers, advisors, and explosive ordnance disposal teams.”
During his confirmation hearing, the new Secretary of Defense James Mattis indicated that he would recalibrate the Obama administration’s approach to the war in Iraq and Syria.
“I think it’s getting there as rapidly as possible, where it would be a more accelerated campaign,” declared Mattis.
The Obama administration placed a limit on the number of U.S. service members allowed in Iraq — no more than 5,262.
Currently, there are an estimated 5,155 in the country with hundreds more on temporary deployment who are not counted as part of the limit.
“Discussions are also underway on fundamentally changing how troops are deployed to Iraq,” reports CNN.