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US Special Forces Deployment in Syria Can Escalate to Ground Operation

© REUTERS / Jonathan ErnstSenator Ben Cardin (D-MD) addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference in Washington March 1, 2015
Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference in Washington March 1, 2015 - Sputnik International
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US Senator Ben Cardin claims that the United States must not send ground troops to Syria and must ensure that existing Special Operations forces’ activities do not transform into a wider, longer-term effort.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States must not send ground troops to Syria and must ensure that existing Special Operations forces’ activities do not transform into a wider, longer-term effort, US Senator Ben Cardin said in a statement on Monday.

"I continue to oppose authorizing any level of US troops on the ground in Syria and I am greatly concerned that even a small number of Special Forces units could escalate into something broader and more long-term," Cardin stated.

On Friday, the White House announced it would deploy in Syria up to 50 additional Special Operations forces to assist the campaign against the Islamic State. The decision comes after President Barack Obama pledged in 2013 not to put US forces on the ground in Syria.

"After a series of hearings and meetings this week, including with Secretary Kerry and General Allen, I continue to support targeted airstrikes and training, in conjunction with our coalition partners, along with the arming of vetted opposition forces, as methods to alter the regional dynamics," Cardin explained.

He noted that he supports a negotiated political solution to end the Syrian conflict because no military solution exists.

However, Cardin also said he disagrees with the continued reliance on the 2001 authorization for the use of military force.

US President Barack Obama speaks during a surprise visit with US troops at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, in Afghanistan, May 25, 2014, prior to the Memorial Day holiday - Sputnik International
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The authorization was passed in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States and specifically aimed to counter the al-Qaeda terrorist group.

On Monday, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said that the mission of the special forces deployed to Syria will not be geared to carrying out raids against the Islamic State.

However, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter stated after a successful hostage rescue operation last week that the United States would be conducting more raids in the future.

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