Two high-ranking US Republican senators are demanding that Washington deploy 20,000 troops to Syria and Iraq.
On Sunday the US warhawks, John McCain and Lindsey Graham called for Washington to nearly triple the US military force levels in Iraq to 10,000, and send an equal number of troops to Syria to ‘counter’ ISIS terrorists in both countries.
Press TV reports:
McCain and Graham also criticized President Barack Obama’s Daesh strategy, which relies on airstrikes and modest support to what Washington deems as ‘moderate’ militants in Syria, stressing the need for greater US in the Middle East conflicts.
“The only way you can destroy the caliphate (Daesh) is with a ground component,” said Graham who is seeking his party’s presidential nomination. “The aerial campaign is not turning the tide of battle,” Reuters reported.
McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, recently proposed intervention in Syria by a European and Arab ground force backed by 10,000 US military advisers and trainers.
On Sunday, both senators told reporters during a visit to Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, that US personnel could provide logistical and intelligence support to a proposed 100,000-strong force from countries like Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Last month, the US president ordered the deployment of dozens of special operations troops to northern Syria to “advise” what it calls ‘opposition forces’ in their fight against ISIL.
US counter-terrorism experts have warned that deploying ground troops risks backfiring.
The so-called US-led coalition, which has been bombing purported militant targets in Syria and Iraq for more than a year now, relies heavily on American resources despite including some 60 nations, according to Reuters.
The senators met earlier with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi who they said had welcomed the idea of more US troops.
However, Iraqi government spokesman Saad Hadithi denied the claim, saying that the PM had not requested US combat troops on the ground but rather asked for more arms and advisers to increase air support for Iraqi forces.