US may send ground troops to Syria conflict with the Islamic State

A anonymous defense official told CNN that the U.S. Defense Department might suggest that the U.S. send conventional ground troops to Syria in order to accelerate the fight against the Islamic State there.

CNN quotes an official as saying: "It's possible that you may see conventional forces hit the ground in Syria for some period of time." The ultimate decision is up to President Donald Trump. Trump ordered his defense secretary, James Mattis, to create a plan to combat the Islamic State(IS) before the end of the month.
Up until now along with bombing raids U.S. military operations in Syria are made up mostly of Special Operation forces whose role is to provide training and assistance to groups fighting IS on the ground. The Obama administration has not recognized them as "boots on the ground" since they are not assigned a combat role. Presumably regular ground troops would have combat as part of their mission. At this point, officials claim that deploying ground troops is simply a point of discussion rather than being a formal proposal. What their exact mission would be has not as yet been made clear.
Obama was unwilling to take on the increased risk involved with sending in regular troops. There would probably be significant numbers sent and likely casualties that could cause negative reactions back in the U.S. If the decision to send troops were made it would show that Trump, Defense Secretary Mattis. and General Dunford, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are willing to take on more risk and increase U.S. involvement in Syria.
At his confirmation hearing Mattis was not asked whether he would put more troops into Syria. However, he did say:"I think it's getting there as rapidly as possible, where it would be a more accelerated campaign." There are also discussions about how troops are to be deployed in Iraq. Trump has directed his military leaders to fast track plans for defeating the IS. Leaked White House documents show Trump has expressed a willingness to enlarge the US presence in Syria.
Jeff Davis, a navy Captain and Pentagon spokesperson said: "We are in the process of conducting our 30-day review of the strategy to defeat ISIS as directed by the president. We are considering a number of measures to accelerate the campaign as part of that review, but no decisions have been made." Yet the Military TImes reports:However, multiple U.S. Army sources indicated that about two thousand soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team soon may bolster other Army elements already in the region. Currently, about 1,800 paratroopers from the 2nd BCT are in Iraq participating in the U.S. military's train-and-advise mission. The 82nd Airborne Division is based at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
The issue of safe zones is also still under discussion. However, such zones could require up to 30,000 ground troops to reinforce and it could be quite unpopular both in the US and elsewhere. The proposal was outlined in an early draft of the executive order banning migrants from seven countries. It was removed from later drafts.
Obama set limits on how many troops could be in Iraq at one time. These limits are agreed to with the Iraqi government. At present, just 5,262 are allowed with 5,155 there presently. However, this figure is misleading as those in Iraq on a temporary assignment are not counted. Trump may want to do away with all limits and also count temporary units. This needs to be approved by the Iraqi government. There is also discussion of increased cooperation with the Russians and arming Kurdish groups in northern Syria that the US supports. Arming the Kurds may anger the Turks. The military was ordered by Trump to come up with proposals within 30 days that would facilitate the fight against the IS.


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