US President Barack Obama said Thursday that the decision to send more special forces to Iraq to fight the so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL) takfiri group does not amount to another US invasion.
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 during an interview with CBS news.
Obama’s remarks 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.
“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,” he added.
Approximately 100 special force soldiers will be sent to Iraq, according to Col. Steve Warren, spokesman of the US-led coalition fighting ISIL.
Currently, about 3,500 US troops are operating at six locations in Iraq claimed to be deployed in support of the Iraqi forces.
American 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.”
The White House also ordered the deployment of about 50 special forces to Syria under the pretext to assist and advise local forces there, including the Kurdish People’s Union Party (PYD).