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Pentagon chief: US won’t hold back from ‘direct action on the ground’ to fight Islamic State

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Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Tuesday said the United States will ramp up attacks on Islamic State jihadists in Syria and Iraq, with additional air strikes and even direct action on the ground.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carter said he expects more actions like the one last week that freed dozens of captives but left an American commando dead in Iraq.

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“We won’t hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against ISIL, or conducting such missions directly, whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground,” Carter said.

He did not elaborate on what he meant by “direct action on the ground,” and the Obama administration opposes committing US ground forces to Syria.

Carter said the United States would focus its efforts on the IS stronghold of Raqqa in northern Syria and boost support for rebel groups fighting the jihadists.

“We expect to intensify our air campaign, including with additional US and coalition aircraft, to target ISIL with a higher and heavier rate of strikes,” Carter said, using an alternate name for IS.

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“This will include more strikes against ISIL high-value targets as our intelligence improves,” he added.

Carter’s pledge to intensify strikes comes as the US-led coalition has in fact been striking fewer targets in Syria in recent months.

Pentagon officials insist the diminished tempo reflects a lack of decent targets, and has nothing to do with Russia launching its own bombing campaign a month ago.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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You can expect these 3 authoritarian regimes to help get Trump reelected in 2020

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In the aftermath of the Israeli government’s decision to bar Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from visiting Israel and Palestine, the 2020 Democratic presidential contenders rallied around the two congresswomen, and the Israeli government discredited its American supporters.

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"The person you mentioned has been placed in administrative detention for 15 days as punishment" by Shenzhen police for breaking a public security law, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

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President Donald Trump made a number of puzzling and bizarre statements Tuesday about U.S. foreign policy, and panelists on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" were aghast.

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