President Barack Obama has authorized special operations forces to aid the rebel forces fighting against ISIS, according to senior administration officials.
The move is being described as a “shift” in the United State’s military strategy to combat ISIS.
“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 a 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 offense,” the official said.
“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.”
The number of forces deployed is expected to be less than 50. The troops will be assigned to northern Syria to assist Kurdish and Arab forces in that area, CNN reported.
The Guardian reports that in addition to special forces, there will be deployment of an A-10 “Warthog” attack aircraft and F-15 jets to Nato’s Incirlik base in Turkey.
This announcement marks a significant contrast to a pledge made by Obama in 2013 when he declared “I will not put boots on the ground in Syria,” as seen in the video below.