US announces plan to deploy 250 more troops to Syria

The White House says an 250 additional US troops will be deployed to Syria.

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

US Marines prepare to depart upon the end of operations for Marines and British combat troops in Helmand October 27, 2014.

US President Barack Obama has decided to deploy 250 US soldiers to Syria to assist local forces in accelerating the fight against the DAESH terrorist group, a White House adviser said on Monday.

"We've seen across parts of northern and eastern Syria progress as ISIL [DAESH] has been pushed out of some strongholds," Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters in Hanover, Germany.

"We want to accelerate that progress and we believe the commitment of additional US special forces can play a critical role."

Rhodes underlined that the deployment is not meant to serve in a ground combat role.

A US official says it's unclear how many of those would be Special Operation Forces and how many would be medical or intelligence support personnel.

The main Syrian opposition welcomed Obama’s announcement on Monday.

"President Obama's decision to deploy 250 more troops to fight the DAESH in Syria is a good step. We must rid our country of this scourge. But Syria will not be free of terrorism until we see the end of the Assad regime's reign of terror. We need help in freeing our country from Assad as well as from the DAESH," Salem al-Meslet, spokesman of the High Negotiations Committee said in a statement.

50 US Troops Assist YPG In Northern Syria

In November, Obama approved a small contingent of 50, including elite US commandos who have worked in Syria to "tighten the squeeze" on DAESH.

The US troops have assisted the YPG which is the militant wing of the PYD, in northern Syria since December 2015.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 30 soldiers have been deployed to Kobani.

Kurdish sources say other 20 soldiers have settled in the strategic city of Al-Hasakah.


The US administration has continued to supply the YPG with military supplies that were recently brought by US helicopters to the strategic Rmelan Airfield, located in Syria's northern Al-Hasakah province, according to local sources.

Local sources indicated on April 8 that US Army helicopters landed in the US-controlled Rmelan Airfield to unload a large military shipment which was transferred to YPG units, according to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency.

US Ambassador to Turkey John Bass, rejected the claims and said the US was not providing the YPG with weapons or ammunition.

However, the US administration regards the PYD as an ally in the fight against the DAESH terrorist organisation.

Turkey has consistently protested the US backing of the PYD, which is considered by Turkey to be the Syrian extension of the PKK and a terrorist group, which is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, the EU, and NATO.

Meanwhile, the US military announced on April 1 that it had started training dozens of Syrian opposition fighters against DAESH as part of an improved programme that aims to avoid mistakes that failed its first training effort last year.

In early 2015, the US had announced plans to train and equip 15,000 Syrian opposition fighters over the course of three years and was planning to raise at least 5,000 fighters until the end of last year.

However, the programme came under harsh criticism after it failed to recruit enough fighters and the first group of trainees disbanded or were captured in Syria and another group forfeited their weapons and equipment to the Al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front.

TRTWorld and agencies