Dempsey: 15,000 Ground Troops Needed to Destroy IS

Dempsey: 15,000 Ground Troops Needed to Destroy ISDempsey: 15,000 Ground Troops Needed to Destroy IS

As the massive US-led air campaign plows ahead, the nation’s top military chief says it will take 15,000 ground troops to wipe out the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff made the statement at a Friday briefing as Britain, Belgium and Denmark joined the bombing campaign to wipe out the terror group in Iraq, New York Post reported.

“The answer is yes. There has to be a ground component in the campaign,” Dempsey said, appearing alongside Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

“We need 12,000 to 15,000 to reclaim lost territory,” he said, referring to the huge swath IS carved out from Iraq and Syria.

IS is estimated to have amassed more than 30,000 fighters, including many recruits from Western nations.

The US-led coalition, which also includes five Arab countries joining the air campaign, plans to train Syrian rebels to do the dirty work on the ground, while also relying on Kurdish forces and Iraqi tribal fighters.

Obama has repeatedly insisted US troops won’t play a combat role in the campaign.

In Great Britain, Parliament gave an overwhelming vote, 534-43, to join the Iraq coalition Friday — just days after IS released a video showing the beheading of British hostage David Haines.

“This is about psychopathic terrorists that are trying to kill us, and we do have to realize that, whether we like it or not, they have already declared war on us,” said British Prime Minister David Cameron.

“There isn’t a ‘walk on by’ option. There isn’t an option of just hoping this will go away.”

The UK is dispatching six Tornado fighter jets. Belgium is sending six F-16s, and Denmark is sending seven more.

In the face of the withering air attack, IS militants are changing tactics by ditching conspicuous convoys in favor of motorcycles.

The IS has also taken to erecting their notorious black flag on the rooftops of residential houses and buildings — many of them empty — to create confusion.