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Chuck Hagel Iraq ISIS Syria

Local forces to fight ISIS

16 Sep, 2014

Hagel says that the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria will depend on local opposition:

The best counterweight against Isil are local forces

U.S. troops will not engage the group directly:

American forces will not have a combat mission.

He says U.S. forces in Iraq will operate out of Baghdad and Irbil, for a total of about 1,600 troops. will support Iraqi and Kurdish forces. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has agreed to host training grounds for more than 5,000 Syrian opposition forces, who will be given small arms, vehicles and communications equipment and training:

We would be prepared to provide increasingly [sophisticated] types of assistance.

The U.S. will select the Syrian opposition carefully:

A rigorous vetting process would be critical to the success of this program. There will always be risks. But we believe that risk is justified.