October 21, 2016

US to Put Special Forces on Ground in Syria to Fight IS

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) shakes hands with US President Barack Obama during a press conference after a bilateral meeting as part of the G20 Turkey Leaders Summit on November 15, 2015 in Antalya. (AFP)

The United States seeks to put French and Turkish special forces on the ground in Syria to help fight the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group.

Following Friday’s terror attacks in the French capital, the United States is urging France and Turkey to put special forces on the ground in Syria to fight ISIL alongside the 50 US special operators Washington has already deployed there, a CBS News report said Monday.

It is a case the US made in person at a summit of world leaders in Turkey, it added, in reference to President Barack Obama’s weekend visit to the country for the G-20 meetings.

If France and Turkey agree to this, their special forces would work with other groups to both help maximize the impact of US-led coalition airstrikes and eventually retake ISIL stronghold, Raqqa, the report said.

The US is also looking for more help with, and sharing of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. The plan is to increase strikes aimed specifically at those ISIL leaders plotting external attacks, it added.

US President Barack Obama recently ordered the deployment of Special Operations troops to Syria to “assist” militants fighting against the government and the Daesh terrorist group, in an apparent breach of his promise not to put US “boots on the ground” there.

Senior US administration officials noted then that there would be some 50 troops deployed in the Middle East region to “train, advise and assist” so-called vetted militants.

This is while analysts said that debates over the proposed option reflect growing White House frustration with the failing US campaign against Daesh.

The new policy comes as Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is reportedly pressing military leaders to deliver fresh measures for greater US involvement in long-running conflicts overseas.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The crisis has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people so far and displaced millions of others.

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