The United States will send additional ground troops to Syria to expand its campaign against the Islamic State terrorist group, President Obama announced Monday.
Obama said he will deploy 250 Special Operations Forces to train and fight alongside local militia to further drive ISIS out of the region. This development increases U.S. presence in Syria six-fold to roughly 300 troops, Reuters reported.
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"These terrorists are doing everything in their power to strike our cities and kill our citizens so we need to do everything in our power to stop them," Obama said in Hanover, Germany Monday.
Obama has been adamant that he would not place "boots on the ground" in the U.S.’s effort against ISIS. He has instead opted to carry out limited airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, but their success in degrading the jihadist group has been limited.
Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes emphasized before Obama’s announcement that the additional troops will be in "harm's way," but they would not be involved in a combat mission, ABC News reported.
"Obviously, any special forces troops that we deploy into Iraq or Syria are going to be combat-equipped troops," Rhodes said. "They’re not being sent there on a combat mission. They’re being sent there on a mission to be advising and assisting and supporting the forces that are fighting against ISIL on the ground."
Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced last week that the U.S. military was gearing up to deploy 217 additional troops to Iraq to assist government forces in its fight against ISIS. Special operations forces will be among those sent, helping to train and advice Iraq troops.
During the president’s trip to Saudi Arabia last week, Obama said Persian Gulf leaders agreed to increase its effort against the group in the region.