State Department

Kerry: Countries Are Offering Ground Troops in Fight Against ISIS

Secretary of State says he is "extremely encouraged" by the level of international commitment to military assistance.

Following a tour of the Middle East to secure backing for U.S. strikes against ISIL, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he was "extremely encouraged" by the level of international commitment of military assistance against ISIL militants, saying that some countries had even offered ground troops in the U.S. led effort. 

"I've been extremely encouraged to hear from all of the people that I've been meeting with about their readiness and willingness and to participate," said Kerry in an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation" aired Sunday.

"We have countries in this region, countries outside of this region, in addition to the United States, all of whom are prepared to engage in military assistance, in actual strikes if that is what it requires," Kerry said. He added, "And we also have a growing number of people who are prepared to do all the other things." 

However, Kerry reiterated President Barack Obama's previous statement that U.S. ground troops would not be deployed against ISIL in Iraq and Syria, although he left open the possibility that could change down the road. 

"We're not looking to put troops on the ground," said Kerry. "There are some who have offered to do so, but we are not looking for that at this moment anyway," Kerry said, without identifying the countries. 

On CNN's "State of the Union," White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough was asked if the coalition Kerry is building would need ground troops beyond what's already in play with opposition groups in Syria and Kurdish and government forces in Iraq.

"Ultimately to destroy ISIL we do need to have a force, an anvil against which they will be pushed, ideally Sunni forces," said McDonough, declining to offer more information. 

"This is a strategy coming together as the coalition comes together and the countries declare what they are prepared to do," Kerry said in the interview.

Kerry is currently in Paris for a conference the French government is hosting to discuss a coordinated, international approach to confronting ISIL.