Tony Blair: Don’t rule out ground troops in ISIS fight

Of the bombing campaign led by the U.S. and France, Blair said it would “not suffice”

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Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has stated that sending in ground troops to combat militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria should not be ruled out, in an interview with the BBC .

He made the comments as a coalition of countries target ISIS fighters in an aerial campaign, striking targets in both Syria and Iraq.

“Unless you’re prepared to fight these people on the ground, you may contain them but you won’t defeat them,” he said.

He added that there was “no appetite for ground engagement in the West” and that domestic forces could spearhead the ground assault against ISIS.

In recent weeks, ISIS has been internationally condemned for the beheading of Western journalists and the apparent beheading of Kurdish fighters.

Of the bombing campaign led by the U.S. and France, Blair said it would “not suffice.

“The problem is not that we’re facing a fringe of crazy people, a sort of weird cult confined to a few fanatics,” he added.

Blair further said that it was possible to “harry and hem them in by air power” but at some point “someone’s boots on the ground” would be necessary.

“I’m not saying we in the West need to do this; it would be better if it were done by those people closer to the ground who have got the most immediate and direct interests in fighting them.

“But I don’t think we can in all circumstances rule it out and after all we do have the force capability to do this.”

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