Speaking with reporters in the Middle East, Votel said that the Pentagon does not plan to send American troops to take over the fighting from local forces, but that he was “very concerned about maintaining momentum” to liberate Raqqa and that the U.S. might “take on a larger burden ourselves,” CBS News reports. Asked if that meant more U.S. troops, he said “perhaps.”
Votel says local forces “don’t have as good mobility, they don’t have as much firepower, so we have to be prepared to fill in some of those gaps for them and that may involve additional fire support capability, a variety of other things that we bring in to help offset some of the gaps that they have and we take the burden on ourselves for that aspect of the fight.”
Lt. Gen. Steve Townsend, a subordinate of Votel, recently said he expected both Raqqa and Mosul, ISIS’s stronghold in Iraq, to be liberated within six months.
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