December 01, 2015

Pentagon may send more U.S. troops to Syria

By Nicholas Heras

Source: USA Today

Journalist(s) Tom Vanden Brook

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon will consider deploying more special operations troops to fight Islamic State militants if its pilot project in Syria shows signs of progress, a senior Defense official told USA TODAY on Monday.

The Pentagon last month announced that 50 commandos would be sent to northern Syria to advise forces battling the Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS. Sending that initial force amounts to "breaking the seal" on inserting special operations forces in Syria and could lead to further deployments, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about planning. The Pentagon will not comment on whether those commandos have arrived in Syria.

The trigger for sending more special operations forces, the official said, is the ability of local forces to take ground from ISIL in Syria and hold it. Adding more forces on the ground in Syria would represent a significant deepening of the U.S. commitment to the counter-ISIL effort, potentially requiring additional forces to support them. There are about 3,400 American forces in Iraq.

Read the full article at USA Today.

  • Nicholas Heras

    Fellow, Middle East Security Program

    Nicholas A. Heras is a Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), working in the Middle East Security Program. He is also a Senior Analyst at the Jamestown Found...