President Donald Trump told Congress that he would send military advisers to Syria to help fight the Islamic State, which he described as “the greatest threat to the United States” and which the administration has designated a global terrorist organization.
Trump said he will not hesitate to send military forces to the Middle East, despite the fact that his predecessor, Barack Obama, said the U.S. would not “take sides” on the conflict.
“We’re going to do what we have to do,” Trump told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“I think we have a lot of work to do.”
Trump also told lawmakers he is prepared to deploy U.N. peacekeepers to help enforce a no-fly zone over Syria.
Trump’s comments come amid rising tensions with Russia, which has stepped up air strikes against the United Nations and its allies in the country and has launched airstrikes on U.K. targets in retaliation for a string of alleged Russian cyberattacks.
The U.s. is seeking to build a no fly zone over the country to protect civilians, U.n. officials said Friday.
But the Trump administration has been reluctant to commit to such a zone, arguing that it could lead to civilian casualties and destabilize the country.
“It’s a big question mark.
We’re not yet sure if it will be successful or not,” said a U. S. official.
“The administration has said it will look at it but we’re not there yet.”
Trump told lawmakers that the U,S.
military will also be sending “significant numbers of troops” to Saudi Arabia to help train local forces to take on ISIS, a move that Trump has criticized as a “lack of coordination” with Riyadh.
The president also said the United Arab Emirates will send troops to assist in the fight against ISIS.
The Pentagon has said that while it does not comment on intelligence reports, the U S. will deploy UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to assist U.A.E. forces.
Trump also said that the Pentagon is considering sending more than 100 additional U. A.E.’s to Syria and will be deploying a UH1Y Apache helicopter to the region as well.
Trump and Saudi King Salman are expected to meet in the coming days to discuss the fight, the president said Friday, adding that the two leaders have agreed to a plan to “defend our interests in the region.”
Trump and King Salman met on Thursday for the first time since Trump took office.
They were also expected to discuss U.O. peacekeeping operations in the Middle Eastern country and to hold talks on the future of U.H.1Y helicopters.