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US pushes other nations to deploy special forces to Iraq, Syria

8 December 2015 15:20


US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford says that special operations forces from other nations might join the fight against the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group in Iraq and Syria.

“Although I can’t talk to you about the countries right now, because we are still in the process of discussing with them, we have a number of other countries that we are working with right now to provide additional special operations in Syria and Iraq,” Dunford said Monday at a stop in Bahrain during a tour of US installations in several countries.

Dunford, the highest-ranking military officer in the US military, said he has received encouraging responses from allies in the region regarding the deployment of troops to fight Daesh, but is waiting to see actual ground forces.

“It didn’t take Paris (attacks) for us as Americans to recognize the nature of the threat, or many others, in fairness,” Dunford said. “But if anyone in the wake of Paris doesn’t think it’s their problem, they aren’t thinking hard enough.”

The US-led coalition against Daesh already involves special forces contributions from individual NATO member states and may have more in the future, Dunsford said. However, the US is still pushing for more involvement from regional allies, he added.

About 3,500 US troops are currently “advising and assisting” Iraqi forces in the fight against Daesh terrorists. Last week, the Pentagon announced plans to send to Iraq a new special forces unit of 100 men.

Over the past week, the Iraqi government, including Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, has said the country doesn’t need additional foreign ground combat troops to defeat Daesh.

Meanwhile, NATO has ruled out sending ground troops to battle Daesh terrorists in Syria, NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg told a Swiss newspaper.

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