U.S. Army Special Forces will be joined in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq by elite forces from international partners, according to a report from Stars and Stripes newspaper Tuesday that cited a high-ranking member of the U.S. military. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, who is touring international facilities of the U.S. military, made the announcement in Bahrain.
“Although I can’t talk to you about the countries right now because we are still in the process of discussing with them, we have a number of other countries that we are working with right now to provide additional special operations in Syria and Iraq,” Dunford said.
Last week the Department of Defense announced plans to send a small unit of 100 men to fight against ISIS, as the Islamic State group is also known, according to a Reuters report. Meanwhile, Germany, France and the U.K. also announced they would become militarily involved. Germany responded by offering reconnaissance planes and a frigate, while France and the U.K. commenced bombing raids in Syria.
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This demonstration of solidarity from U.S. allies had pleased Dunford, although he said that he is still waiting to see boots on the ground from previously eager regional allies. “It didn’t take Paris for us as Americans to recognize the nature of the threat, or many others, in fairness,” Dunford said. “But if anyone in the wake of Paris doesn’t think it’s their problem, they aren’t thinking hard enough.”
While the 28-member NATO alliance had said it will not contribute any troops to a traditional ground force to fight ISIS, a contingent of special forces and infantry personnel continues to grow. The 60-member coalition has seen a significant increase in forces since the attacks on Paris last month. However, the U.S. is still pushing for more traditional forces.
“At the end of the day, while it’s going to take a coalition to defeat ISIL, and while many nations have to deal with this issue, it’s also a threat to the homeland, to the United States,” Said Dunford, while using an alternative name for the terror group. “So we have significant interest in making sure that we defeat ISIL.”