President Obama Reiterates Opposition to Deploying Ground Troops İn Anti-ISIS War
“In order for us to solve the long-term problems in Syria, a military solution alone – and certainly us deploying ground troops – is not going to bring that about,” the president told the BBC.
“It would be a mistake for the United States, or Great Britain… to send in ground troops and overthrow the Assad regime,” he said, referring to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.
While he conceded that Islamic State (ISIS) is unlikely to be defeated before he leaves office in nine months, he believes the United States-led coalition forces “can slowly shrink the environment in which they operate.”
Obama believes the coalition can do this by taking “on strongholds like Mosul and Raqqa that are the beating heart of their movement.”
“Prosecuting the campaign is critical, and although I don’t anticipate that in the next nine months it will be finished, because, unfortunately, even a small pocket of extremists,” he added, “if they’re prepared to die themselves, (then they) can still wreak havoc on many of our cities.”
The coalition, Obama explained, will continue “to strike ISIL targets in places like Raqqa, and try to isolate those portions of the country, and lock down those portions of the country that are sending foreign fighters into Europe.”
President Obama had long stressed that he is going to avoid placing “boots on the ground” in the United States-led campaign against ISIS, which was launched in August 2014.
However, the US has placed hundreds of advisors on the ground in Iraq, 50 special forces in northeastern Syria and it has Delta Forces on standby to raid ISIS targets in either country on a moment’s notice.
Furthermore, there are 200 US Marines on the Makhmour front in the Kurdistan Region, manning artillery guns which provide Iraqi and Kurdish forces fire support.