Clinton vows not to commit US ground troops to Iraq or Syria

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBloomberg rolls out M ad buy to boost Biden in Florida Hillicon Valley: Productivity, fatigue, cybersecurity emerge as top concerns amid pandemic | Facebook critics launch alternative oversight board | Google to temporarily bar election ads after polls close Trump pledges to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, designate KKK a terrorist group in pitch to Black voters MORE on Wednesday vowed never to put ground troops in Iraq and Syria to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).


"We are not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again and we're not putting ground troops into Syria," Clinton said at a forum hosted by NBC News and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. 

"We're going to defeat ISIS without committing American ground troops, so those are the kinds of decisions we have to make on a case-by-case basis," she added. 

At the same time, Clinton said the U.S. would have to make sure Iraqi forces have the support they need, including the assistance of U.S. special forces, military enablers and "surveillance, intelligence, reconnaissance help." 

There are currently more than 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, and about 300 in Syria, currently training, advising and assisting Iraqi forces and Syrian opposition fighters against ISIS.  

Clinton said she would boost support for "Arabs and Kurds who will fight on the ground."

The former secretary of State also said U.S. forces would continue to target ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi to "focus our attention," as the United States did with taking out Osama bin Laden.

Earlier in the forum, Clinton said her vote to authorize the war in Iraq was a "mistake." 

"Remember, when I became secretary of State, we had 200,000 troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan," she said. "And I'm very grateful we have brought home the vast majority of those."