A small team of American ground troops will deploy to northern Syria to assist opposition groups in the fight against Islamic State militants.
These would be the first U.S. ground forces sent to Syria for more than a raid or a specific mission.
The White House said Friday that the president had authorized fewer than 50 U.S. special operations forces to coordinate Syrian local fighter movements with the U.S.-led coalition efforts.
The U.S. troops deployed to Syria will provide “some training, some advice and some assistance” to those fighting IS extremists, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
“This is an intensification of a strategy that the president announced more than a year ago,” Earnest said, adding that the “core” of the U.S. strategy in Iraq and Syria remained “building the capacity of local forces on the ground.”
The U.S. troops will enter Syria in the next few weeks and stay in the country for no more than 60 days at a time, according to a senior defense official. They will be based at a “quasi-headquarters” of local Syrian forces — Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen fighters — to help with tactics, operational planning and logistics.