Syria conflict: Obama to send special forces to fight IS

The US is sending special forces to Syria to assist anti-government rebels in fighting the so-called Islamic State (IS), officials have said. There will be "fewer

than 50" forces deployed in the region to "train, advise and assist" vetted opposition forces, said officials.
This will be the first time US troops are working openly on the ground in Syria.
But there have been US special forces raids on IS militants there.
A senior administration official told the BBC this does not signal a change in US strategy but an "intensification" of the campaign.
"Our role fundamentally and the strategy is to enable local forces but does that put US forces in harm's way? It does, no question about it," Defence Secretary Ash Carter later told reporters.
However, Russia's foreign minister warned that the move increased the risk of a "proxy war" developing in the region and urged greater co-operation between the US and Russian militaries.
"I am convinced that neither the United States nor Russia of course want any kind of slide into a so-called proxy war," said Sergei Lavrov, speaking after talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura in Vienna.
For more than a year, the US and coalition forces have been carrying out air strikes against IS, which controls a large part of northern Syria and parts of neighbouring Iraq.
The US recently abandoned its Syria rebel training effort, opting to provide equipment and arms directly to rebel leaders instead.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said President Obama wanted to provide additional support for Syrian rebel fighters who had been having success on the battlefield.
"There are now moderate opposition forces that are 45 miles (72km) outside Raqqa," he said. "The president is prepared to intensify the elements that have shown promise."
He added: "This is an intensification of a strategy he discussed a year ago."
Analysis - Jonathan Marcus, BBC defence correspondent
The numbers are small, nonetheless the US decision represents a notable shift in US policy. Their mission will be "to help co-ordinate local ground forces and coalition efforts" against IS in northern Syria. In all likelihood they may fight alongside Kurdish forces who have been the most effective of Washington's local allies.
"Co-ordination" could well mean forward air controllers; teams trained in the skills of linking up tactical air power with troops on the ground; designating targets and calling in strikes. The fact that the US now has specialised A-10 ground attack aircraft reasonably close by at the Turkish air base of Incirlik may also be significant.
This is a small step intended not least to reassure Washington's unsettled allies in the region. The drift in US policy has become even more apparent since Russia's muscular intervention from the air. But to be convincing the US may need to do a good deal more and that seems to be at variance with President Obama's basic instincts.

This week talks are being held in Vienna involving Iran, Syria's ally, for the first time.
The summit seeks to close the gap between the US and its allies, who support the rebels, and the key foreign allies of the Syrian government, Russia and Iran.
World leaders say progress has been made in the "historic" talks to resolve Syria's civil war, but they continue to differ on the fate of President Bashar al-Assad.
'Progress made' in Syria talks
Where key players stand on Assad
US: Assad must go, but does not need to happen before a political transition process gets under way
Saudi Arabia: Assad must go "within a specific timeframe" and before any elections for a new government
Turkey: Assad must go, though could remain for a "symbolic" six months
SNC (main Western- and Gulf Arab-backed anti-Assad opposition): Assad must go, cannot be part of any political process
Russia: Assad should not be forced to go, Syrians should hold elections to decide who rules them
Iran: Assad should not step down, Syrians should decide their own political future
If not Assad, then who?
US special operations forces have previously taken part in at least two raids in Syria.
In May, troops killed senior IS member Abu Sayyaf and captured his wife in eastern Syria.
And last summer, forces failed in an operation to rescue American hostages including journalist James Foley, who was later beheaded by IS fighters.
Last week, American forces assisted Kurdish troops in the rescue of dozens of hostages held by IS in Iraq. One American was killed in the raid.

Read 190 times
Rate this item
(0 votes)
Login to post comments
Post-Brexit talks: We'll find
The head of the UK's unions has warned Boris Johnson she
Five dead in Milwaukee
Five people have been killed in a shooting at the Molson
Trump names VP Pence to lead
President Donald Trump has appointed Vice-President Mike
Post-Brexit talks: UK
The UK has warned the EU it will walk away from trade talks
Coronavirus: Two new cases
Two more patients have tested positive for coronavirus in
Greek protests: Dozens hurt
More than 60 people have been hurt, many of them riot
Budget 2020: Chancellor must
The new chancellor must raise taxes in his first Budget or
Health officials: Coronavirus
Health officials in the US have warned Americans to brace


A man has been
Researchers say
A law introducing
US scientists are
The Yazidi

Hot News

Featured photos and videos

One show at Paris Fashion Week proved to be
Saudi Arabia has temporarily halted the entry of
Taylor Swift plays a man-spreading, cigar
Five people have been killed in a shooting at the
President Donald Trump has appointed
Two more patients have tested positive for
More than 60 people have been hurt, many of them
At least 20 civilians, including nine children,
Template Settings


For each color, the params below will give default values
Black Blue Brow Green Cyan


Background Color
Text Color
Layout Style
Select menu
Google Font
Body Font-size
Body Font-family