WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Defense is exploring the possibility of deploying ground troops to the Persian Gulf and Syria as part of a concentrated effort by the Trump administration to stop the immense flow of refugees from leaving the country.
“It’s possible that you may see conventional forces hit the ground in Syria for some period of time,” a high-ranking defense official told CNN on Wednesday. The official, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, said the Pentagon is preparing to present President Donald J. Trump with a proposal to send up to 192,000 combat troops to Syria for purpose of sealing off its largely unprotected borders with Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq.
The official said senior members of the National Security Council have indicated they view a ground campaign as the “obvious next step” in preventing Syrian refugees from eventually reaching the United States. “We’ve taken into account the President’s assessment that Syrian refugees are synonymous with Islamic terrorism,” the official said, continuing, “With that in mind, our proposed objective is to cut the head off the snake.”
Under the Pentagon’s proposal, a ground force similar in scale to that of the 2003 invasion of Iraq would enter Syria under the pretense of securing its borders and forcibly prevent Syrian men, women, and children from fleeing the war-torn nation. “The President has said he doesn’t want these people in our country,” Fox News military analyst Peter Campbell said on Wednesday. “Right now Americans are looking to President Trump to produce results,” he argued. “I suspect an operation of this magnitude would prove to the American people – and the world – just how far he’s willing to go.”
An influx of U.S. forces in the region would require increased cooperation between Washington and Moscow, particularly as Russian and Syrian forces continue to battle the Islamic State in Northern Syria. A senior White House staffer with firsthand knowledge of the proposal told Real News Right Now that President Trump is considering a deal with Russia that would ultimately allow U.S. forces to move about freely in the country. “There’s been some talk of offering Russia a ballpark figure of twenty thousand Marines to assist in their efforts against ISIS,” the staffer said.
President Donald J. Trump, who will spend a third consecutive weekend at his luxurious Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, has given Defense Secretary James Mattis until the end of February to come up with a list of viable options to eliminate the Islamic State.