Prime Minister David Cameron has said there will be no troops sent into Syria just days after former Labour PM Tony Blair called for boots on the ground.
Cameron made his comments on the fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) at the G7 summit in Japan, where he met with the heads of other advanced industrial nations.
“I think we are being very straight about this, because we are saying this is going to take time and it is difficult for the very reason that we are not putting in Western ground troops,” he said.
“We are working with the Iraqi security forces, we are working in Syria with moderate opposition and Kurdish forces and the rest of it. This takes time.”
He said the UK needs time to “build the capacity on the ground,” but maintained that an air war with local proxies on the ground “is the right answer.”
“I think we’ve got the right policy,” he said.
On Tuesday, Blair called for troops to be deployed to beat the jihadist group, which conquered swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria in the wake of his ill-fated 2003 invasion.
“There is no way of defeating these people without defeating them on the ground. Airstrikes are not going to defeat ISIS, they have got to be tackled on the ground,” he said at the time.
A recent poll suggests Brits may not be all that keen to take Blair’s advice on foreign policy matters in the wake of the war.
Pollster YouGov carried out the survey ahead of the publication of the long-delayed Chilcot Inquiry report, which examines the legality of Britain’s Iraq invasion.
It found only eight percent believe Blair did nothing wrong, while 53 percent said they could never forgive him.
Some 15 percent of respondents said it was time to forgive Blair for his misjudgment.
Perhaps the most damning finding was that just 25 percent of Labour Party supporters are in favor of forgiving their former leader, who was once heralded as a hero of the center-left.