US Congress has approved $500 million to support President Barack Obama’s plan to arm and equip five to 10,000 Syrian rebels which Washington describes as “moderate” in their fight against the Islamic State (ISIS)
Democratic Senator Tim Kaine said that “I strongly believe that the president needs the support of Congress for this entire mission.”
According to media reports, General Lloyd Austin will oversee the military campaign against ISIS group amid increasing controversy over the limits of the US military involvement in the campaign.
Yesterday, Obama met with military officials at US Central Command in Tampa, Florida, to discuss the fight against ISIS as well as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey about the possibility of deploying US ground forces if the airstrikes against the organisation failed to achieve their goal.
Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee that it was possible that US troops advising and assisting Iraq’s military could be deployed to fight. He said: “To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL [ISIS] targets, I will recommend that to the president.”
Dempsey pointed out that half the Iraqi army is driven by sectarian motives, while there may be nearly 26 brigades with professional capacity.
US fighters have expanded their operations and carried out on Monday their first operation in the vicinity of Baghdad.
American Defence Secretary Chuck Hegel said the US will increase its air strikes against ISIS after it launched more than 160 air strikes against the organisation’s sites in Iraq.
He noted that hunting ISIS will not exclude Syria, because the organisation’s fighters move freely between Iraq and Syria.
Meanwhile, General Dempsey pointed out that training five to 10,000 Syrian terrorists will not be enough to counter ISIS forces.