Where the Democratic Presidential Candidates Stand in the Fight Against ISIS

Comes ahead of their next debate.

ISIS or Assad: Which Comes First?

Both Sanders and O’Malley have also said that they oppose the establishment of a no-fly zone over parts of Syria while Clinton thinks that it should be established in order to help fight both ISIS and Assad.

Use of U.S. Troops in Syria

All candidates are against putting US troops on the ground in Iraq and Syria, saying it’s what ISIS wants the U.S. to do. Instead, they believe the U.S. should support ground troops from the region to help carry out the missions and have called for an international coalition to help defeat ISIS where Arab nations will be expected to supply most of the military force on the ground.

Clinton has called for potentially increasing the number of special operations forces that the U.S. will send to the region, which could be more than the 50 that were announced.

Syrian Refugees

All three of the Democratic presidential candidates have called for Syrian refugees to be allowed into the United States, with Clinton and O’Malley specifically asking for 65,000 to be allowed while Sanders has not specified a number.

That said, they have all stipulated that screenings should be more strict and Clinton went on to say that social media postings should be subject to the visa screeners and anyone who, in the past five years, has traveled to a country facing terrorism issues should not be allowed a visa waver.


One area where Clinton and Sanders have split is on the issue of encryption. Clinton noted that such coding, used to hide the subject of certain messages, does “present a particularly tough problem” for the federal government but they should be able to strike the right balance. Sanders, however, is wary about government overreach, tweeting: “I believe strongly we can protect our people without undermining our constitutional rights. I worry we’re moving to an Orwellian society. O’Malley has not addressed encryption at length.

When it comes to the role that social media play in ISIS’ recruitment efforts, Clinton has called on Silicon Valley – specifically naming YouTube, Facebook and Twitter – to work with the government to monitor potential terrorists. Sanders and O’Malley have also noted that U.S. officials must be aware of the role social media plays in the terror group’s recruitment.

ABC News' MaryAlice Parks contributed to this report.