American vehicles drive on the outskirts of Qayyara, Iraq December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani
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President Donald Trump is expected to ask the Pentagon for ways to accelerate the fight against Daesh (ISIS) militants in Iraq and Syria, and officials said the options probably would include steps the Obama administration considered but never acted on, from adding significantly more U.S. troops to boosting military aid to Kurdish fighters.In a Republican primary debate last March, Trump raised the prospect of needing 20,000 to 30,000 troops to "knock out" Daesh. It's unlikely that military commanders would push for many thousands of additional troops in Iraq. The idea never made it through debate in President Barack Obama's National Security Council.Military commanders have said they're prepared to give the Trump White House a broad range of options. Increased intelligence and surveillance are options, as is allowing U.S. troops to embed more frequently with Iraqi soldiers near the front lines.One big decision Trump will have to address is whether to keep fighting Daesh primarily through local forces or upending the strategy by assuming a greater leadership role through more forces on the ground.
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