Administration: Up to 250 military personnel headed to Syria

(AP) -- President Barack Obama will send an additional 250 military personnel to Syria to help local forces fighting the Islamic State group, increasing to 300 the number of U.S. forces battling extremists

News 12 Staff

Apr 25, 2016, 4:08 PM

Updated 3,003 days ago

Share:

(AP) -- President Barack Obama will send an additional 250 military personnel to Syria to help local forces fighting the Islamic State group, increasing to 300 the number of U.S. forces battling extremists in the war-torn country, administration officials confirmed Sunday.
Obama was expected to announce his decision Monday during a speech in Hannover, Germany, at the close of a weeklong trip, where IS was a focus of his meetings with world leaders in Saudi Arabia, Great Britain and Germany.
The move will significantly increase the U.S. presence in Syria and comes a week after Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the deployment of a similar number of troops to Iraq, where Islamic State militants also control territory.
About 50 U.S. special operations forces are already operating in Syria. Most of the additional 250 personnel will also be special operations forces, largely Army Green Berets. The group will also include an unknown number of medical and logistical troops to provide them with support.
Senior U.S. officials have been touting the success of the forces in Syria, including their ability to generate critical intelligence that gives the U.S.-led coalition a better view of what is happening on the ground, including efforts to target insurgents.
In a sign of Obama's reluctance to use of force, Monday's announcement will cap a trip during which the president advocated diplomacy over military intervention.
Asked last week whether he planned to increase special operations forces in Syria, Obama did not answer directly. But he said he'd had discussions with an adviser about options should a fragile cease-fire break down.
"None of the options are good," he said in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. "It has been my view consistently that we have to get a political solution inside of Syria and that all the external actors involved have to be committed to that as well as the actors inside of Syria. ... The sooner we can end fighting and resolve this in a political fashion, the better."
Obama has said he remains opposed to large-scale U.S. military intervention in either Iraq or Syria. But he has incrementally deepened U.S. involvement in both countries.
The increase of U.S. troops in Syria has been discussed for weeks, including rumblings last week when Carter announced sending an additional 217 U.S. troops to Iraq, the first major increase in U.S. forces in Iraq in nearly a year. Eight Apache helicopters were also being sent to Iraq for the first time to help fight against the Islamic State group there.
Both moves were carried out to help Iraqi forces as they prepare to retake the key northern city of Mosul.
The deployment brought the total authorized troop total to just over 4,000.
Obama re-entered Iraq in June 2014 with an initial contingent of 170 soldiers serving Iraqi forces as advisers in June 2014, in response to the Islamic State group's seizure of much of the northern and western part of the country.
Obama's decision on Syria was first reported Sunday by The Wall Street Journal.
___
Associated Press writers Kathleen Hennessey in Hannover, Germany, and Lolita C. Baldor in Washington contributed to this report.


More from News 12
2:28
HEAT ALERT: Heat and humidity continue for Tuesday; showers expected Wednesday

HEAT ALERT: Heat and humidity continue for Tuesday; showers expected Wednesday

1:54
Bridgeport extends city's hot weather emergency; several cooling centers opened throughout city

Bridgeport extends city's hot weather emergency; several cooling centers opened throughout city

0:44
Mosquitoes trapped in Old Greenwich test positive for West Nile virus

Mosquitoes trapped in Old Greenwich test positive for West Nile virus

0:12
Officials: No one injured in Fairfield bus fire

Officials: No one injured in Fairfield bus fire

2:43
Stamford man retells his eyewitness account of Trump rally shooting

Stamford man retells his eyewitness account of Trump rally shooting

2:25
After Trump shooting, CT delegates say they feel safe at Republican National Convention

After Trump shooting, CT delegates say they feel safe at Republican National Convention

2:26
Commuters react to attempted assassination of former President Trump

Commuters react to attempted assassination of former President Trump

1:55
'We're working to make kindness a contact sport.' Hockey Showcase honors memory of Darien skater

'We're working to make kindness a contact sport.' Hockey Showcase honors memory of Darien skater

0:30
Hawinton man faces manslaughter charges in girlfriend's death

Hawinton man faces manslaughter charges in girlfriend's death

0:36
Former state representative and candidate apologizes for Trump shooting meme

Former state representative and candidate apologizes for Trump shooting meme

3:30
Trump heads to convention as authorities investigate motive, security in assassination attempt

Trump heads to convention as authorities investigate motive, security in assassination attempt

2:14
Don't be caught in the dark: Are you ready to power through hurricane season?

Don't be caught in the dark: Are you ready to power through hurricane season?

5:30
In prime-time address, Biden warns of election-year rhetoric, saying ‘it’s time to cool it down’

In prime-time address, Biden warns of election-year rhetoric, saying ‘it’s time to cool it down’

0:31
Sen. Blumenthal on Trump assassination attempt: 'Political violence is absolutely unacceptable'

Sen. Blumenthal on Trump assassination attempt: 'Political violence is absolutely unacceptable'

2:07
A look back at US political violence that changed history

A look back at US political violence that changed history

4:10
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Trump rally attendee gives his eyewitness account of the shooting

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Trump rally attendee gives his eyewitness account of the shooting

1:52
Law enforcement experts assess security failure at Trump rally

Law enforcement experts assess security failure at Trump rally

2:37
Security increased at Trump Tower following rally shooting

Security increased at Trump Tower following rally shooting

2:27
Political analyst weighs in on gun violence in wake of Trump rally shooting

Political analyst weighs in on gun violence in wake of Trump rally shooting

1:29
Expert: Security will be a high level concern at presidential events in wake of Trump rally shooting

Expert: Security will be a high level concern at presidential events in wake of Trump rally shooting