US President Barack Obama has repeated his promise not to drag US troops into a new ground war in Iraq.
Speaking at a military base in Florida on Wednesday, he confirmed that US soldiers deployed to Iraq will only support Iraqi forces.
“We will use our air power. We will train and equip our partners. We will advise them and we will assist them. We will lead a broad coalition of countries who have a stake in this fight, because this is not simply America versus ISIL. This is the people of the region against ISIL, rejecting the brutality of ISIL,” Obama said.
Obama’s message came a day after US General Martin Dempsey said sending US troops on the ground could be a possibility if air strikes failed.
More than 1,600 US “advisers” have been sent to help Iraqi forces. The US has launched more than 160 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in several areas in Iraq.
Obama has also authorized similar attacks in Syria – something Syrian President Bashar al Assad said would be viewed as an “act of agression”.