US Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton has said that deployment of combat troops to Syria or Iraq is a “non-starter,” two weeks after she called on Congress to authorize the use of ground forces against Daesh (ISIL).
“I agree with the president’s point that we’re not putting American combat troops back into Syria or Iraq. We are not going to do that,” Clinton told “CBS This Morning” on Monday.
Her remarks come as Washington deployed dozens of ground troops to Syria last week, claiming they will assist Kurdish forces in their battle against Daesh terrorists.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday that 30 US soldiers arrived in the northern city of Kobani in addition to another 20 who were deployed to Hasakah province in eastern Syria.
On October 30, senior Obama administration officials said that Washington would send some 50 Special Operations forces to Syria to “train, advise and assist” militants fighting against Daesh, in an apparent breach of Obama’s promise not to put US “boots on the ground” there.
Clinton told CBS that, “We don’t know yet how many special forces might be needed, how many trainers and surveillance and enablers might be needed, but in terms of thousands of combat troops like some on the Republican side are recommending, I think that should be a non-starter.”
The former secretary of state has previously said that containing Daesh is not enough and that the United States should lead a serious fight to defeat the terrorist network.
In a major foreign policy speech on November 19, she called for greater use of American ground troops against the Takfiri group in the wake of the Paris attacks.
She then called on the Republican-controlled Congress to approve the use of ground troops against ISIL, emphasizing that doing so would signal “that the US is committed to this fight. The time for delay is over. We should get this done.”
“This is no time to be scoring political points. We must use every pillar of American power, including our values, to fight terror,” she added.
However, her remarks in the CBS interview appeared to be a departure from that view. “Well, at this point I cannot conceive of any circumstances where I would agree to do that because I think the best way to defeat ISIS is, as I’ve said, from the air which we lead, on the ground, which we enable, empower, train, equip and in cyberspace where, don’t forget, they are a formidable adversary online.”
The United States and its allies have been conducting airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq and Syria since last year.
Observers say while the US and its allies claim they are fighting against terrorist groups like ISIL, they in fact helped create and train those organizations to advance their policies in the Middle East.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The crisis has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people so far and displaced millions of others. source: presstv