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The United States is considering sending a small number of special operations forces to Syria and attack helicopters to Iraq as it weighs options to build momentum in the battle against Islamic State, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.
Earlier on Tuesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter signaled his intent to step up the U.S. military's activity in Iraq and Syria, just days after U.S. forces participated in a raid to rescue Islamic State hostages in Iraq.
"We won't hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against ISIL or conducting such missions directly, whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground," Carter told a Senate hearing, using an acronym for the militant group.
Marine Corp General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate hearing he would consider recommending putting more U.S. forces with Iraqi troops to support the Islamic State fight if it improved chances of defeating the militants.