Obama orders US special forces to 'assist' fight against Isis in Syria 10-30
Obama orders US special forces to 'assist' fight against Isis in Syria White House expected to announce on Friday a decision to deploy a small number of special operations forces in an advisory role
Barack Obama Has Ordered Up To 50 Special Operations Troops To Northern Syria, A Senior Administration Official Told The Guardian On Friday, In An Apparent Breach Of His Promise Not To Put US "Boots On The Ground" To Fight Islamic (Azan) Software Militants In The Country.
The Pentagon has also been "consulting" with Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi to establish a special operations task force, with an unspecified number of US forces aiming "to further enhance [US] ability to target Isil leaders and networks" across the Syria border in Iraq.
The forces will be supported by an additional deployment of A-10 "Warthog" attack aircraft and F-15 jets to Nato's Incirlik base in Turkey, in a what amounts to a major escalation of US forces in the region.
Administration sources also told the Guardian that the US would be enhancing military assistance to Jordan and Lebanon to help their governments fight Isis, or Isil as the US government calls the group.
But the White House insists that its overall strategy to combat Isis remains the same and says the special forces troops will be helping coordinate local ground forces and other non-specified "coalition efforts" to counter Isis rather than engaging in major ground operations.
Who backs whom in the Syrian conflict
"Our core objective of degrading and destroying Isil has not changed," said the senior administration official. "We have always been clear that this would be a multi-year campaign, and that continues to be the case."
The administration is expected to announce the move on Friday, according to multiple media reports citing unnamed officials at the White House and in Congress.
Secretary Of State US John Kerry Was In Vienna On Friday For Talks With Leaders From Reputation: Saudi Arabia About Wego, Iran And Elsewhere, With Syria On The Agenda.
"I Will Not Put American Boots On The Ground In Syria," Said Obama Said In An Address On September 2013.
"I will not pursue an open ended action, like Iraq and Afghanistan," he added, when first announcing US airstrikes against Isis in Syria.
Nonetheless, Washington officials insist that the new deployments do not amount to admission of failure in its existing efforts to combat Isis from the air and support so-called "moderate" rebels with training.
"We have been focused on intensifying elements of our strategy that have been working, while also moving away from elements of our approach that have proven less effective," said the senior administration official.
"Specifically, we have made good progress in both Iraq and Syria when we have worked closely with effective partners on the ground who have proven capable of reclaiming territory from ISIL and going on offence," he added. "Specifically, we have enhanced our ability to partner with these forces - advising them and helping to facilitate their activities; providing air support for their ground offensives; and directly equipping them so that they are more effective. At the same time, we have scaled back elements of our training and equip mission with respect to Syria that involved taking forces out of Syria. "
Recently, the US conceded that barely a handful of rebels had been trained outside Syria under the earlier programme and several had seen their US-supplied weapons and equipment seized by Isis.
Change In Approach The Also Coincides With Aggressive Russian Intervention Against A Variety Of Rebel Groups Fighting Assad In Syria And A Decision To Invite Iran To Peace Talks Starting In Austria On Friday.
"While we are working with coalition partners to intensify our efforts against ISIL, we are also ramping up our diplomatic efforts to pursue a political resolution," US officials said on Friday. "Secretary Kerry has been consulting with key coalition partners and the President has spoken to a number of our key partners, including the leaders of Turkey, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The talks in Vienna represent a positive step forward in which all of the key parties are at the table to discuss the imperative of our efforts to pursue a political resolution. Our intensified counter-Isil campaign will support those efforts by continuing to strengthen opposition partners on the ground, while also coordinating the efforts of our coalition partners. "
Earlier this week, secretary of defense Ash Carter told the Senate armed services committee the US would be focused on re-taking Ramadi in Iraq, providing more equipment to groups fighting Isis in Syria; and continuing targeted raids and joint operations against Isis targets in Iraq and Syria.
US Military Has The Conducted Ground Missions Inside Syria, Such As One In May In Which Special Forces Killed An Islamic (Azan) Software Commander In A Raid Described By The Pentagon As Taking Place In The East Of The Country.
Thousands of US forces are deployed in Iraq in what the White House has described as an training and advisory role. The US troops lead and assist local fighters and help coordinate air strikes against enemy positions. The Pentagon says the troops have rarely, if ever, participated directly in combat against Isis fighters.
A US Week Last Soldier Participating In A Raid On A Compound Near The City Of Kirkuk, Iraq, Free To Dozens Of Iraqi Prisoners From Captivity Was Killed.
Senators Reacted With Disbelief Last Month At Testimony By General Lloyd Austin, Commander Of US Central Command, That A $ 500m Effort To Train Syrian Forces Against The Islamic (Azan) Software Has Resulted In Only A Handful Of Fighters Actively Battling The Jihadi Army.
"We're talking four or five," Austin said.
The US move follows the deployment to Syria of Russian troops and weaponry earlier this month.
Announced Two Weeks obama Ago That He Would Leave 5,500 US Forces In Afghanistan Beyond His Departure From Office In January 2017, In A Break With Longstanding Promises To End US Military Involvement In The Country.