US intensifies fight against Islamic State militants – Pentagon chief

US troops are intensifying pressure on Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq by supporting local forces with an expanded air campaign and occasional direct ground support, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter told lawmakers on Tuesday. Testifying alongside Carter before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Marine Corp Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs

of Staff, said he would consider recommending putting US forces with Iraqi troops to fight Islamic State if it improved the chances of defeating the militants. Carter said the military campaign was evolving as the US military sought to reinforce ground efforts and US forces aimed to intensify pressure on IS strongholds in Raqqa in Syria and Ramadi in Iraq.



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