The US has done special operations raids in Syria and participated in a ground operation to rescue hostages last week in northern Iraq that resulted in the first US combat death in Iraq since 2011. Carter did not say under what circumstances the US. might conduct more ground action, but said, "Once we locate them, no target is beyond our reach."
"We won't hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against ISIL, or conducting such missions directly, whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground," Carter said yesterday, using an acronym for the militant group.
Carter and Marine Gen Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Republicans harshly criticized the Obama administration's strategy in Syria and Iraq, where IS militants have captured large swaths of territory and have largely fought the US-led coalition to a stalemate.
With little recent progress in defeating the militant group, the defense secretary's testimony outlined a changing US approach to the fight against IS.

The changes point toward the prospect of deeper US military involvement, although President Barack Obama has said he would not authorize a major commitment of ground combat forces.


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