Obama will soon announce the addition of 250 Special Operations troops to the American advisory force in Syria. It will bring the number of US military personnel operating in Syria from 50 to 300.
It is an attempt to build on the momentum in the fight against ISIS. An exact timeline for the new deployment has not been specified.
“The president has authorized a series of steps to increase support for our partners in the region, including Iraqi security forces as well as local Syrian forces who are taking the fight to ISIL,” said a member of the Obama administration.
“We’ve had success and obviously want to . . . sustain it, build on it and potentially garner more success.”
The decision was made earlier this month but it was decided Obama would wait until the conclusion of his week-long international trip in Germany that has centered on issues regarding international security to make the decision public. He has repeatedly insisted that the US will not be getting directly involved in combat operations in the region. Officials have reiterated this and indicated that the additional personnel will be aiding in intelligence and logistical matters. The new US forces will be involved in the campaign to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa, the apparent headquarters of the Islamic State.
Kurdish forces have thus far had notable success in northeastern Syria and the US has begun to look to them as a powerful ally in the fight to bring down ISIS. However, the Kurds are reluctant to approach Raqqa as it is inside of an area where Kurdish have often felt unwelcome. The new Special Operations troops will attempt to involve more Sunni Arabs in the efforts to expel ISIS from the city.