US Defence Secretary Ash Carter has indicated an increase in US military action in the Middle East against Islamic State.

He also said that Washington will work with some leaders of groups in thr Middle East that are fighting against the Islamic State, give them weapons and training, as well as the air support they need.

Carter did not make clear under which circumstances US troops could operate on the ground though he reflected the acknowledgement that the US effort, still the largest of all forces in the region, has advanced little in recent months.

Carter said:

“We won’t hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against IS, or conducting such missions directly, whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground.”

Among other options reportedly being considered is providing close-air support for Iraqi ground forces with Apache helicopters or other aircraft and embedding US military advisers with smaller Iraqi units, placing the Americans closer to the front lines.

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