NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says NATO has ruled out sending ground troops to fight Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria.
In an interview published by Switzerland’s Tages-Anzeiger newspaper on December 7, Stoltenberg said NATO ground forces to accompany U.S.-led coalition air strikes was “not on the agenda of the coalition and the NATO allies.”
Stoltenberg said: “The United States has a limited number of special forces,” but strengthening local forces is “the only option.”
Stoltenberg also said NATO would help improve Turkey’s air defenses after it shot down a Russian bomber that crossed into Turkish airspace.
Noting a “significant buildup of the Russian military presence from the far north to the Mediterranean,” Stoltenberg said it is important there to “avoid similar incidents such as in Turkey.”
President Barack Obama said his strategy to fight IS does not include U.S. ground combat troops in Syria and Iraq.
But the Pentagon has announced small deployments of elite special forces.