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The Interview

John McCain calls for 10,000 US ground troops in Syria

FRANCE 24

The United States could ‘take out’ the Islamic State (IS) group with the deployment of 10,000 ground troops, US Senator John McCain has told FRANCE 24 in an exclusive interview.

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The Republican former presidential candidate said the IS group posed “a direct threat” to the United States that could be dealt a knock-out blow with a ground deployment in Syria.

“Ground troops [means] about 10,000 Americans with a coalition of Arab countries, hopefully NATO countries, maybe even France, where we could go in on the ground with sufficient air support to take out ISIS,” McCain said, using another acronym for the Islamic State militants. “They are not invincible, there are not unbeatable.”

McCain lashed out at what he called the “USA’s lack of leadership” on dealing with the emergence of the IS group in Syria, saying America “should have seen what this movement is all about” before it established a strong territorial presence in Iraq and Syria.

The Arizona Senator, who lost the 2008 US presidential race to Barack Obama, was critical however of any move by the French towards an alliance with Russia in dealing with the IS group threat.

“I have great respect for President [François] Hollande, but I firmly disagree with an alliance with The Russians,” he said. “Bashar al-Assad, who’s been sponsored by [Russian President] Vladimir Putin, is the guy that killed thousands with chemical weapons. He’s a war criminal.”

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