The defense Department may propose that the US send conventional ground troops into northern Syria for the first time.
President Trump has asked officials to speed up the fight against ISIS and has asked his defense secretary to come up with a proposal to combat Islamic State before the end of the month.
The Independent reports:
Only small teams of US special operation forces are currently authorised in the country and the decision to send ground troops would be in the hands of President Trump, who recently ordered his defence secretary, James Mattis, to draft a new proposal to fight the terror network within 30 days.
“It’s possible that you may see conventional forces hit the ground in Syria for some period of time,” one defence official told CNN on Wednesday. US officials told the network that the idea is merely a “point of discussion” rather than a formal proposal.
It’s currently unclear exactly what the mission would be but one reported goal would be to reassure Turkey that Kurdish forces aren’t a threat to their interests.
Another unnamed official explained that the 30-day review is still underway and no options have been presented to President Trump.
“It’s way, way speculative,” the official told Reuters, responding to the report.
There are currently 5,262 US troops allowed in Iraq with hundreds of others who are temporarily assigned to the country and not counted under the ceiling, CNN reports.
Defense Secretary Mattis previously said at his confirmation hearings that he separate himself from the Obama administration’s policies to fight jihadists in Syria and Iraq. “I think it’s getting there as rapidly as possible,” he said, “where it would be a more accelerated campaign.”