Washington, 24 Safar 1437/6 December 2015 (MINA) – President Barack Obama said Thursday that his decision to send more special forces to Iraq to fight ISIL did not amount to another U.S. invasion.
Obama’s remarks during an interview with CBS news came just days after the Pentagon announced it would send the troops to Iraq to help Kurdish peshmerga forces and conduct raids in Syria to combat the militant group, World Bulletin quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
“When I said no boots on the ground, I think the American people understood generally that we’re not going to do an Iraq-style invasion of Iraq or Syria with battalions that are moving across the desert,” said Obama.
“But what I’ve been very clear about is that we are going to systematically squeeze and ultimately destroy ISIL and that requires us having a military component to that.”
Defense Secretary Ash Carter earlier this week told the House Armed Services Committee that “these special operators will over time be able to conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence, and capture ISIL leaders.” Carter did not provide a timetable for the deployment.
Approximately 100 special forced will be sent to Iraq, according to Col. Steve Warren, spokesman of the U.S.-lead coalition fighting ISIL.
Currently, about 3,500 U.S. troops are operating at six locations in Iraq in support of the Iraqi forces.
U.S. special operation forces conducted a raid on a ISIL prison in Iraq to free 70 hostages, including Iraqi forces. A U.S. soldier was killed during the operation in October.
The White House also ordered the deployment of about 50 special forces to Syria to assist and advise local forces there, including the Kurdish People’s Union Party (PYD). (T/P006/R04)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)