Carter, UK Defense Minister Outline Priorities

Defense Secretary Ash Carter and his British counterpart Secretary Michael Fallon briefed the press on the two countries’ efforts in the defeat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria following their meeting at the Pentagon on Wednesday. Fallon said British forces are taking part in efforts on the ground in Iraq to help guide airstrikes against ISIS forces, and next week will begin training Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters to build up counter-improvised explosive device skills and capabilities. Fallon said the UK also is ready to assist in the training of moderate Syrian rebels outside of Syria, but Carter emphasized the US is still determining what kind of support it will give to rebels once in Syria. Carter also declined to commit to US airstrikes backing anti-Assad fighters, a topic which several members of Congress have pressed the Pentagon on repeatedly. “We are still working through how we would react to that eventuality,” Carter said. “We haven’t decided in what manner and in what circumstances we would respond. It would depend very much on the situation and the circumstance.”