Fresh off of yesterday‘s reports that the Pentagon was considering sending more ground troops into Syria, Defense Secretary Ash Carter has announced another deployment of combat troops into neighboring Iraq, explicitly for the purpose of conducting raids into Syria.
Details on where the troops will be and how many are scant, but Carter says the troops will be conducting operations inside Iraq only at the “invitation” of the central government there, and will also be positioned to conduct “unilateral operations into Syria.”
Other officials were quoted by NBC News as saying the newly announced deployment will only involve smaller “expeditionary units,” but that it “cracks open the door” to an even broader US combat operation in both countries.
The Pentagon and Obama Administration have struggled with the narrative on combat operations against ISIS, sometimes denying any combat is taking place and then at other times insisting that there are “obviously” US troops engaged in combat in Iraq.
Carter reiterated today that the troops are in combat, telling Congress today that “tens of thousands of US personnel” are operating in the region already, and even more are “on the way.”