World

No Boots From NATO, Ground Forces Ruled Out Against ISIS

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter

NATO will not use ground forces in operations against Islamic State in Syria, says NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg.

The NATO chief official ruled out sending NATO ground forces to fight ISIS, instead focusing on the need for greater utilization of local forces and other Muslim neighbor countries.

The international organization’s announcement follows key votes in German and U.K. government to join the fight against ISIS, as well as reports that the recent San Bernardino shooting perpetrators had ties to ISIS. (RELATED: Germany Makes Noncommittal Commitment In War On ISIS)

“Muslims are on the front line in this war. Most victims are Muslims, and most of those who fight against the IS are Muslims. We can not carry on this struggle for them,” says Stoltenberg. “The United States has a limited number of special forces. In the foreground, however, is strengthening local forces. This is not easy, but it’s the only option.”

Stoltenberg was quick to point out that the Russian influence in Syria is hamstringing efforts to stop the spread of ISIS, saying Russia must “play a more constructive role in the fight against IS. So far, Russia has attacked other groups and focused on supporting the Assad regime.”

NATO’s rejection to put boots on the ground begs the question as to who exactly will dedicate ground forces against the ISIS threat. Though Operation Inherent Resolve, the US led operation against ISIS, does include Arab neighbors, few of them have been active in bombing sorties nor have they committed significant ground forces to the effort. The active ground forces currently dedicated to the operation are either stretched thin, as is the case with the Iraqi military and Kurdish Peshmerga, or have dangerous ties and motives, such as Hezbollah and the various Shia militias sponsored by Iran.

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