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Pentagon not to send ground forces to fight Islamic State so far - defence secretary

April 11, 2015, 8:04 UTC+3 NEW YORK
Carter said that he is ready to make the recommendation of putting boots on the ground to defeat the Islamic State, if he sees fit
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NEW YORK, April 11. /TASS/. The United States sees no need yet in sending its ground forces to participate in the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group that acts in Syria and Iraq, U.S. Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter said on Friday.

Carter said that he is ready to make the recommendation of putting boots on the ground to defeat the Islamic State, if he sees fit. "We are not at that point yet," Carter told CNN. He added that he "would not hesitate to give that advice" [to U.S. President Barack Obama]. Carter said that Obama "is very open to advice and very open to analysis" but that doesn't mean that when "any of us makes a recommendation, he will accept."

Carter said that both al-Qaeda and Islamic State remain viable threats to the United States. "If al-Qaeda was the Internet terrorists, these guys are the social media terrorists," said Carter referring to Islamic State. Carter said that while Al-Qaeda's power has been "reduced," after over a decade of "pounding" by the United States, "they still have a serious preoccupation with direct attacks on the United States," specifically citing recent victories in Yemen by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The U.S. strategy to combat the Islamic State envisages U.S. air strikes on the positions of Islamists in Iraq and Syria. The Iraqi army and the forces of so-called moderate Syrian opposition are engaged in a ground offensive against them. U.S. aircraft started to bombed positions of the Islamic state in Iraq since August 8, 2014, and in Syria - on 23 September.

The international coalition formed to fight the Islamic State includes more than 60 countries, 12 of which are involved in a military operation in Iraq and Syria.

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