The 250 troops come in addition to the 50 special operations forces authorized last October to "train, advise and assist" local troops. These forces will act in a similar capacity.
This article has been updated, 3:25 PM.
Washington (Talk Media News) – President Barack Obama authorized the Defense Department Monday to send 250 more U.S. troops to join the battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Syria to “keep up this momentum” in the war.
“Just as I’ve approved additional support for Iraqi forces against ISIL, I’ve decided to increase U.S. support for local forces fighting ISIL in Syria, a small number of American operations forces are already on the ground in Syria, and their expertise has been critical as local forces have driven ISIL out of key areas,” Obama said from Hanover, Germany at the end of a trip that included talks in Saudi Arabia and Britain.
“So given the success, I’ve approved the deployment of up to 250 additional U.S. personnel in Syria, including special forces, to keep up this momentum.”
ISIS is also known as ISIL.
In addition to special operators, the deployment will include medical and logistics support personnel, Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said. U.S. support for the new forces in Syria will be staged out of northern Iraq.
The 250 troops come in addition to the 50 special operations forces authorized last October to “train, advise and assist” local troops. These new forces, Cook said, will act similarly, building relationships with groups on the ground including Syrian-Kurdish forces, Kurds, Turkmen and Syrian-Arabs and serve as “force multipliers” on the battle field, bringing the full weight of the U.S. military to bear.
Obama said he would continue to pursue diplomatic solutions to ending the Syrian civil war even though the cessation of hostilities negotiated in February stands fragile, as the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad has not slowed attacks against rebel-held areas.
“The suffering of the people in Syria has to end and that requires an effective political transition,” he said.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter said an additional 217 troops would be sent to Iraq during a visit to Baghdad last week. This will bring the number of U.S. troops in Iraq from 3,870 to 4,087.
These forces will advise Iraq security forces at the battalion and brigade level, rather than be restricted to the division level — meaning that they will be closer to the front lines, he said.
Out of the same trip, Carter said Iraq agreed to accept Apache attack helicopters and additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) from the U.S. as they prepare to try to retake the ISIS stronghold of Mosul. He also said the U.S. was set to give $415 million in aid to the Peshmerga, the Kurdish military group operating in Northern Iraq.