Destroying ISIS requires more than air strikes: U.S. official

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Militants of the Islamic State in Aleppo province, north of Syria. File photo

ARA News

Duhok, Iraqi Kurdistan – The U.S. Army Chief of Staff said Wednesday that air strikes alone cannot be sufficient in defeating militants of the Islamic State (IS/ISIL) in Iraq and Syria. 

General Ray Odierno told reporters in Washington that the Iraqi army needs training to be able to build ground forces.

“Trained Iraqi military forces are needed to pursue IS militants on the ground,” Odierno said, adding that the U.S.-led air strikes will help destroying the main strongholds of the Islamic State.

According to the U.S. Army Chief of Staff, the sectarian bias of the Iraqi army was the primary cause of the emergence and rapid growth of power of the Islamic State in Iraq.

Describing what has happened in Iraq as “very disappointing”, he suggested it might have been better if U.S. forces had stayed in Iraq as “we would have been able to keep a closer eye on what was going on.”

The United States is now working to build a broad international coalition to take on the Islamic State in Iraq.

“You’ve got to have ground forces that are capable of going after them (IS militants) and rooting them out in order to defeat and destroy them, so that is why the training, our ability to have advisers and train them (Iraqis) to do this is incredibly important,” he said.

 

Reporting by: Khalil Remmo

Source: ARA News

 

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