President Barack Obama said sending more troops to Syria to fight the Islamic State group “would be a mistake.”
Speaking at the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, he said, “Not because our military could not march into … Raqqa and temporarily clear out ISIL, but because we would see a repetition of what we’ve seen before. If you do not have local populations that are committed to inclusive governance and who are pushing back against ideological extremes, then they resurface.”
“Let’s assume we send 50,000 troops into Syria,” he added. “What happens when there is a terrorist attack generated from Yemen? Do we then send more troops into there?”
Obama called Friday’s Paris attacks that killed 129 people and wounded as many as 350 others a “terrible and sickening setback.”
According to Newsweek, Republicans have criticized Obama’s administration for the lack of aggression it has shown in fighting the ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and have said that more ground troops need to be sent to combat the terrorist group. Jeb Bush, Donald Trump and Lindsay Graham called for deployment of more troops in the region.
Speaking about admitting Syrian migrants into the country, he said, “All of our countries have to ensure our security, and as president, my first priority is the safety of the American people. Even as we accept more refugees — including Syrians — we do so only after subjecting them to rigorous screenings and security checks. We also have to remember that many of these refugees are the victims of terrorism; that’s why they’re fleeing.”
“This is not a traditional military opponent,” he said. “We can retake territory and as long as we keep our troops there we can hold it. But that does not solve the underlying problem of eliminating the dynamics that are producing these kinds of violent, extremist groups.”
Meanwhile, the governors of Texas, Alabama and Michigan said that they will not allow Syrian refugees into their states. CNBC reports Trump saying, “You can’t let them in” as “it would be one of the great Trojan horses.”
A state of emergency was declared by the French President Francois Hollande in the wake of the deadly attacks. A series of airstrikes against the group were conducted by French aircraft Sunday.