Special Report: Scott Anthony / FNN
An inside source to FNN has been able to verify that in fact US (or Western) soldiers are in fact on the ground inside Iraq fighting along side with Kurdish forces in the war against ISIS in Iraq.
Several mainstream media outlets are reporting the same. President Obama has made a vow to the American public that American Troops would not be returning to Iraq for ground combat missions, however, eyes on the ground in Kurdish regions would deem otherwise.
According to the UK news outlet "Daily Mail" online version by Associated Newspapers, a Daily Beast freelance reporter wrote Tuesday that he saw 'what appeared to be bearded Western Special Operations Forces' in a caravan of armored vehicles near the Iraqi town of Zumar.
The battle-scarred location, 30 miles from Mosul and a bit further from Erbil, had been the site of fierce fighting between Kurdish Peshmerga forces and ISIS militants.
'They didn't wear any identifying insignia,' the reporter added, 'but they were visibly Western and appeared to match all the visual characteristics of American special operations soldiers.'
This particular freelancer should know: He's a 27-year-old former U.S. Army Ranger who served three tours in Iraq and two in Afghanistan.
The fact that eyewitnesses are on the ground and reporting seeing American troops on the ground appears to be in direct conflict with what President Obama stated only a week ago regarding US policy on sending American Forces back into Iraq for military ground operations.
The fight against ISIS can not be won by air strikes alone according to Pentagon officials. Admiral Kirby, Pentagon Spokesperson made this clear last Thursday as he outlined the broader policy in dealing with ISIS in Iraq as well as Syria. All options are on the table, and the Pentagon is drawing up battle scenarios for the President as it relates to the fight against ISIS on a "regional level."
FNN will follow this breaking story as tensions increase in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Ukraine. Whatever is happening in the Middle East, will not affect operations elsewhere according to Admiral Kirby. The United States Armed Forces remain in an overall effective posture to be effective in multiple theaters anywhere in the world.
Kirby further states that while the current cost of the US Military operations in Iraq are topping $7.5Million per day, the Pentagon remains within budget for such operations until at least Fiscal Year 2015. However, any increase in manpower on the ground in Iraq will likely require Congressional Approval as the current military budget for Iraq does not account for massive ground forces according to any sources we can verify.