President Barack Obama said Thursday that his administration is considering military support to help fight jihadists who have taken over swaths of land in northern Iraq.
According to USA Today, a senior administration official said both drone strikes and airstrikes are on the table, but White House Press Secretary Jay Carney shot down notions of putting American boots on the ground. Iraqi officials have reportedly given their approval for airstrikes on the insurgents.
“I don't rule out anything because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria,” Obama said Thursday.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, is responsible for the violence in northwestern Iraq, which borders Syria and has been operating in the region, more heavily in Syria, since the start of the Syrian Civil War in 2011.
The jihadist group seeks to establish a hardline Islamic state in the region and has pushed back Iraqi military forces to take multiple cities in the last few days, including the second largest Iraqi city, Mosul. After driving out government troops from northern Iraqi cities, the jihadists plan to march toward Baghdad.
According to CNN, the Iraqi military was defeated easily in the fallen cities and many commanders fled the north. Meanwhile, Iran has deployed units from its Revolutionary Guard to fight the militants in northern Iraq, and has also stationed troops in Baghdad and other Shiite cities to protect holy sites.