Pres. Trump to be presented plans to accelerate war against ISIS in Syria

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Fighters from the Free Syrian Army monitor the area during battles against Islamic State (IS) group jihadists near the town of Qabasin, located northeast of the city of Al-Bab, some 30 kilometres from Aleppo, on January 8, 2017. / AFP / Nazeer al-Khatib (Photo credit should read NAZEER AL-KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department is prepared to provide the new administration with military options to accelerate the war against ISIS in Syria that could send additional US troops into direct combat, CNN has learned.

The options will be ready for President-elect Donald Trump to consider as soon as he takes office and would be presented by retired Marine Gen. James Mattis as the new defense secretary and Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They would have the final say on any details being briefed to the new President for his approval. Additional options to deal with other hotspots, including Iran, are also being prepared, according to the defense official.

The options have already been worked up by the military during the Obama administration but the presidential authorities to carry them out were never approved by Obama. New authorizations by Trump, needed to act on any of the proposals, would mean the US is expanding both its military strategy on fighting ISIS. Analysts say this signals the Trump White House is willing to take on increased military risk as the options would inherently increase the risk for US troops compared to what President Barack Obama has so far been willing to accept.

None of the options being discussed so far contradict positions taken by Mattis publicly at this point.

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