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President Obama Plans To Send More Ground Troops To Syria

In the fight against the Islamic State, President Barack Obama is expected to announce a plan to send another 250 U.S. soldiers to Syria to help local forces.

Officials said the president would outline the plan of deploying 300 American personnel in a speech in Hanover, Germany on Monday. He will then have talks with German chancellor Angela Merkel and other European leaders. Obama was convinced by military advisers that increasing U.S. strength in the region would help increase recent victories over ISIS. Last year, the U.S. sent 50 special forces troops to Syria.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the new force would consist of special forces, as well. It is unclear how many special forces will be included and how many work in support activities such as medical and intelligence.

The action comes one day after Obama said, “It would be a mistake for the United States, or Great Britain … to send in ground troops and overthrow the Assad regime.” The president has also said he did not believe the Islamic State could be defeated during his remaining time in office. He said, “In order for us to solve the long-term problems in Syria, a military solution alone – and certainly us deploying ground troops – is not going to bring that about."

In addition, he stated that the U.S. plan to defeat Islamic State would not “involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil." To date, U.S. forces have focused on working with Kurdish forces. Although, many believe they need to look beyond those forces in order to achieve gains around the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa.

A U.S. official is quoted as say, “He [Obama] intends to put in more ... forces to the tune of 250 in Syria." A second official shared, “The president has authorised 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 [Isis].”

Photo: Gage Skidmore

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