Tags: Donald Trump | ISIS/Islamic State | Middle East | Syria | War on Terrorism | ground forces | soldiers

CNN: Defense Dept. May Send US Troops to Syria to Fight ISIS

Image: CNN: Defense Dept. May Send US Troops to Syria to Fight ISIS

In this picture taken Feb. 14, 2017, a Jordanian soldier stands at the north eastern border with Syria, close to the informal Rukban camp. (AP Photo/ Raad Adayleh)

By    |   Wednesday, 15 Feb 2017 04:38 PM

The Defense Department might propose President Donald Trump send combat forces into northern Syria for the very first time to help defeat the Islamic State, according to news reports.

Pentagon officials are considering the option — and it is among several being weighed by the agency, CNN reported.

Defense Secretary James Mattis could present the option to the president at the end the month, in accordance with an executive order Trump signed in January calling for a plan to defeat ISIS within 30 days.

"It's possible that you may see conventional forces hit the ground in Syria for some period of time," a defense official told CNN.

However, any such move would be up to President Trump, the official said.

The Obama administration had long refused to consider sending large numbers of U.S. troops into Syria in the ISIS battle.

Last April, however, President Barack Obama sent up to 250 Special Forces soldiers into Syria to support militia fighters.

The move increased the U.S. ground presence there six-fold — though a senior member of the Saudi royal family dismissed the move as "window dressing."

Defense experts had argued putting more fighters on the ground could have shifted the momentum in Syria.

CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr on Wednesday called the notion of ground troops in Syria "a very high-risk idea."

"If you're going to put U.S. Ground troops into Syria, you have to be able to protect them on the ground and from the air," she said. "It is a very risky idea."

Nearly 500,000 people have been killed in the 6-year-old Syrian civil war.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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The Defense Department is might propose that President Donald Trump send combat forces into northern Syria for the very first time to help defeat the Islamic State, according to news reports.
ground forces, soldiers, defense, department
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2017-38-15
Wednesday, 15 Feb 2017 04:38 PM
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