WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. military troops are intensifying pressure on Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, supporting local forces with an expanded air campaign and occasional direct action on the ground, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told lawmakers on Tuesday.
Carter told the Senate Armed Services Committee the campaign against the militants was evolving as the U.S. military seeks to reinforce what is working on the ground. He said U.S. forces aimed to intensify pressure on the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa in Syria and the Iraqi city of Ramadi.
Carter said he expected the coalition air campaign to intensify, with more aircraft and a higher tempo of operations. He said the United States also wouldn't hesitate to support local forces with "strikes from the air or direct action on the ground."
(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati, Phil Stewart and David Alexander; Editing by Doina Chiacu)