US deploys strategic bombers to Qatar against 'ISIL'
Iran Press TV
Sat Apr 9, 2016 1:29PM
The United States military has sent an unspecified number of strategic B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf littoral state of Qatar to join what it calls the fight against Daesh (ISIL).
The US deployed B-52 bombers to Qatar on Saturday to fight Daesh in Iraq and Syria, the US Air Forces Central Command said.
The deployment is the first of the kind in the Persian Gulf region since the end of the US-led war against Iraq in 1991 following the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait.
The US Air Force said it last flew the long-range bombers operationally in the Middle East in May 2006 as part of the war in Afghanistan, and during a US-led military exercise in Jordan in May 2015.
"The B-52 demonstrates our continued resolve to apply persistent pressure on Daesh and defend the region in any future contingency," said Air Force Lieutenant General Charles Brown, commander of US Air Forces Central Command.
Lieutenant Colonel Chris Karns, spokesman for the Central Command, said he could not provide the exact number of B-52 bombers to be based at the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar due to "operational security reasons," Reuters reported.
Washington's decision to deploy B-52 bombers to Qatar came as the US military claims to have stepped up the fight against ISIL in Iraq and Syria.
US officials have recently told Reuters on condition of anonymity that the administration of President Barack Obama is weighing a proposal to accelerate "recent gains against" ISIL terrorists in Syria and "greatly increase" the number of American special forces deployed there.
Currently there are dozens of US special operations forces in Syria, who are working closely with a collection of various armed groups that are trying to topple the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
A CNN report said Friday that the United States was considering deploying 250 additional special forces in Syria as part of a broader effort to ramp up military operations against ISIL.
Last month, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford said the Pentagon was planning to deploy additional American combat troops in Iraq to accelerate military operations against Daesh terrorists.
Pentagon had previously announced there were 3,500 US forces on ground in Iraq to 'train and equip' local security forces.
Daesh terrorists, who were initially trained by the CIA in Jordan in 2012 to destabilize the Syrian government, now control large parts of Iraq and Syria. They are engaged in crimes against humanity in the areas under their control.
US warplanes have been conducting airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq since August of 2014. Some Western states have also participated in some of the strikes in Iraq.
Since September 2014, the US and some of its Arab allies have been carrying out airstrikes against Daesh inside Syria without any authorization from Damascus or the United Nations.
The US-led coalition stands accused of having done little to stop Daesh's advances in parts of Syria and in Iraq.
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