WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States is struggling to develop a ground force to defeat al-Qaeda in northwest Syria, a senior State Department official said Tuesday.
"In order to actually defeat these groups you have to have not only an air campaign, but a ground component, and developing a ground component against [al-Qaeda] has been very difficult," the official told reporters.
The official said al-Qaeda’s continued presence in the area was a very serious concern.
US strikes in recent weeks have killed a number of fighters believed to be with al-Qaeda in Syria, or Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra Front).
Defense Department spokesperson Capt. Jeff Davis said the strike targeted a meeting of al-Qaeda members and likely killed high-value targets.
The administration of President Donald Trump, like that of its predecessor Barack Obama, has so far been unwilling to commit to a large-scale US ground presence in Syria.