US to deploy special operations forces in Syria: Official

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WH to Deploy Troops in Syria: NBC News

The White House will announce Friday that a small number of U.S. special operations forces will be sent into Syria, according to a senior U.S. official.

The senior U.S. official said that the forces will be stationed in northern Syria and work alongside groups with a proven track record of fighting ISIS. The move will be described as a "shift" but not a "change" in U.S. strategy against ISIS, the official added.

The special operations forces could work with Kurdish and allied actors who have come together under the umbrella of the "Syrian Democratic Forces," according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement was not yet public.

See photos of the US-Kurdish raid against ISIS in Iraq:

15 PHOTOS
US-Kurdish raid against Islamic State in Iraq, ISIS (AP photos)
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US to deploy special operations forces in Syria: Official
This image made from video taken on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 from a helmet camera, shows U.S. and Iraqi special forces freeing hostages from a prison controlled by Islamic State militants in the town of Huwija, 15 kilometers (9 miles) west of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. The Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq released a video Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015 purportedly showing the joint raid of a prison by U.S. and Kurdish peshmerga forces in which they released 70 hostages from the Islamic State groupâs captivity. (Kurdistan Regional Security Council via AP)
This image made from video taken on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 from a helmet camera, shows U.S. and Iraqi special forces inside a makeshift prison in the town of Huwija, 15 kilometers (9 miles) west of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. The Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq released a video Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015 purportedly showing the joint raid of a prison by U.S. and Kurdish peshmerga forces in which they released 70 hostages from the Islamic State groupâs captivity. The Islamic State flag hangs on the wall. (Kurdistan Regional Security Council via AP)
This image made from video taken on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 from a helmet camera, shows U.S. and Iraqi special forces searching prisoners inside a makeshift prison in the town of Huwija, 15 kilometers (9 miles) west of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. The Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq released a video Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015 purportedly showing the joint raid of a prison by U.S. and Kurdish peshmerga forces in which they released 70 hostages from the Islamic State groupâs captivity. (Kurdistan Regional Security Council via AP)
This image made from video taken on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 from a helmet camera, shows U.S. and Iraqi special forces freeing hostages from a prison controlled by Islamic State militants in the town of Huwija, 15 kilometers (9 miles) west of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. The Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq released a video Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015 purportedly showing the joint raid of a prison by U.S. and Kurdish peshmerga forces in which they released 70 hostages from the Islamic State groupâs captivity. (Kurdistan Regional Security Council via AP)
This image made from video taken on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 from a helmet camera, shows U.S. and Iraqi special forces freeing hostages from a prison controlled by Islamic State militants in the town of Huwija, 15 kilometers (9 miles) west of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. The Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq released a video Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015 purportedly showing the joint raid of a prison by U.S. and Kurdish peshmerga forces in which they released 70 hostages from the Islamic State groupâs captivity. In the video, a line of panicked men in traditional ankle-length jalabiyas are seen running past the camera, some with their hands up, as Arabic-speaking men scream at them âletâs go! Letâs go!â They are marched through a dark room with the Islamic State groupâs trademark black flag draped over its wall. (Kurdistan Regional Security Council via AP)
This image made from video taken on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 from a helmet camera, shows U.S. and Iraqi special forces inside a makeshift prison in the town of Huwija, 15 kilometers (9 miles) west of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. The Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq released a video Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015 purportedly showing the joint raid of a prison by U.S. and Kurdish peshmerga forces in which they released 70 hostages from the Islamic State groupâs captivity. The Islamic State flag hangs on the wall. (Kurdistan Regional Security Council via AP)
This image made from video taken on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 from a helmet camera, shows U.S. and Iraqi special forces searching prisoners inside a makeshift prison in the town of Huwija, 15 kilometers (9 miles) west of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. The Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq released a video Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015 purportedly showing the joint raid of a prison by U.S. and Kurdish peshmerga forces in which they released 70 hostages from the Islamic State groupâs captivity. (Kurdistan Regional Security Council via AP)
This image made from video taken on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 from a helmet camera, shows U.S. and Iraqi special forces freeing hostages from a prison controlled by Islamic State militants in the town of Huwija, 15 kilometers (9 miles) west of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. The Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq released a video Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015 purportedly showing the joint raid of a prison by U.S. and Kurdish peshmerga forces in which they released 70 hostages from the Islamic State groupâs captivity. In the video, a line of panicked men in traditional ankle-length jalabiyas are seen running past the camera, some with their hands up, as Arabic-speaking men scream at them âletâs go! Letâs go!â They are marched through a dark room with the Islamic State groupâs trademark black flag draped over its wall. (Kurdistan Regional Security Council via AP)
This image made from video taken on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 from a helmet camera, shows U.S. and Iraqi special forces freeing hostages from a prison controlled by Islamic State militants in the town of Huwija, 15 kilometers (9 miles) west of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. The Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq released a video Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015 purportedly showing the joint raid of a prison by U.S. and Kurdish peshmerga forces in which they released 70 hostages from the Islamic State groupâs captivity. (Kurdistan Regional Security Council via AP)
This image made from video taken on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 from a helmet camera, shows U.S. and Iraqi special forces searching prisoners inside a makeshift prison in the town of Huwija, 15 kilometers (9 miles) west of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. The Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq released a video Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015 purportedly showing the joint raid of a prison by U.S. and Kurdish peshmerga forces in which they released 70 hostages from the Islamic State groupâs captivity. (Kurdistan Regional Security Council via AP)
This image made from video taken on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 from a helmet camera, shows U.S. and Iraqi special forces searching prisoners inside a makeshift prison in the town of Huwija, 15 kilometers (9 miles) west of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. The Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq released a video Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015 purportedly showing the joint raid of a prison by U.S. and Kurdish peshmerga forces in which they released 70 hostages from the Islamic State groupâs captivity. The Islamic State flag hangs on the wall. (Kurdistan Regional Security Council via AP)
This image made from video taken on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 from a helmet camera, shows U.S. and Iraqi special forces freeing hostages from a prison controlled by Islamic State militants in the town of Huwija, 15 kilometers (9 miles) west of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. The Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq released a video Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015 purportedly showing the joint raid of a prison by U.S. and Kurdish peshmerga forces in which they released 70 hostages from the Islamic State groupâs captivity. In the video, a line of panicked men in traditional ankle-length jalabiyas are seen running past the camera, some with their hands up, as Arabic-speaking men scream at them âletâs go! Letâs go!â They are marched through a dark room with the Islamic State groupâs trademark black flag draped over its wall. (Kurdistan Regional Security Council via AP)
This image made from video taken on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 from a helmet camera, shows U.S. and Iraqi special forces freeing hostages from a prison controlled by Islamic State militants in the town of Huwija, 15 kilometers (9 miles) west of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. The Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq released a video Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015 purportedly showing the joint raid of a prison by U.S. and Kurdish peshmerga forces in which they released 70 hostages from the Islamic State groupâs captivity. In the video, a line of panicked men in traditional ankle-length jalabiyas are seen running past the camera, some with their hands up, as Arabic-speaking men scream at them âletâs go! Letâs go!â They are marched through a dark room with the Islamic State groupâs trademark black flag draped over its wall. (Kurdistan Regional Security Council via AP)
This image made from video taken on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 from a helmet camera, shows U.S. and Iraqi special forces inside a makeshift prison in the town of Huwija, 15 kilometers (9 miles) west of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. The Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq released a video Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015 purportedly showing the joint raid of a prison by U.S. and Kurdish peshmerga forces in which they released 70 hostages from the Islamic State groupâs captivity. (Kurdistan Regional Security Council via AP)
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Rep. Mac Thornberry, chair of the House Armed Services Committee, said the expected announcement made clear the White House was feeling the pressure of a "failed policy" against ISIS.

"I'm concerned that the administration is trying to put in place limited measures — too late — that are not going to make a difference," he told NBC News. "I don't see a strategy towards accomplishing a goal, I see an effort to run out the clock without disaster."

Obama and his administration have come under mounting pressure amid signs the anti-ISIS coalition has stalled or at least failed to turn the tide against the militants — including the recent Pentagon decision to abandon a failed program to train and equip Syrian rebels.

Small signs of a sea change in strategy have been filtering out in recent weeks and gained steam in wake of a U.S.-backed raid to free ISIS hostages that cost the life of a Delta Force commando.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter warned earlier this week that to expect more such raids when he told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Pentagon would be stepping up attacks against ISIS — including through "direct action on the ground" in Iraq and Syria.

Carter's remarks — in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee — immediately raised eyebrows given repeated assurances from President Barack Obama that U.S. troops in the region would not engage in combat.

The defense secretary himself referred to the aforementioned raid as "combat," where "things are complicated" in his comments to the committee.

The U.S. currently has around 3,300 troops in Iraq to train and advise Iraqi forces and protect U.S. facilities.

RELATED: ISIS destroys a temple in Syria:

8 PHOTOS
ISIS destroys temple of Baalshamin, Palmyra
See Gallery
US to deploy special operations forces in Syria: Official
This undated photo released Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015 on a social media site used by Islamic State militants, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows smoke from the detonation of the 2,000-year-old temple of Baalshamin in Syria's ancient caravan city of Palmyra. A resident of the city said the temple was destroyed on Sunday, a month after the group's militants booby-trapped it with explosives. Arabic at bottom reads, "The moment of detonation of the pagan Baalshamin temple in the city of Palmyra." (Islamic State social media account via AP)
This undated photo released Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015 on a social media site used by Islamic State militants, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows shows explosives in the 2,000-year-old temple of Baalshamin in Syria's ancient caravan city of Palmyra. A resident of the city said the temple was destroyed on Sunday, a month after the group's militants booby-trapped it with explosives. The U.N. cultural agency UNESCO on Monday called the destruction of the temple a war crime. (Islamic State social media account via AP)
This undated photo released Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015 on a social media site used by Islamic State militants, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows the 2,000-year-old temple of Baalshamin in Syria's ancient caravan city of Palmyra rigged with explosives. A resident of the city said the temple was destroyed on Sunday, a month after the group's militants booby-trapped it with explosives. The U.N. cultural agency UNESCO on Monday called the destruction of the temple a war crime. (Islamic State social media account via AP)
This undated photo released Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015 on a social media site used by Islamic State militants, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows the demolished 2,000-year-old temple of Baalshamin in Syria's ancient caravan city of Palmyra. A resident of the city said the temple was destroyed on Sunday, a month after the group's militants booby-trapped it with explosives. The U.N. cultural agency UNESCO on Monday called the destruction of the temple a war crime. (Islamic State social media account via AP)
FILE - This file photo released on Sunday, May 17, 2015, by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows the general view of the ancient Roman city of Palmyra, northeast of Damascus, Syria. Islamic State militants beheaded 81-year-old Khaled al-Asaad, a leading Syrian antiquities scholar who spent most of his life looking after the ancient ruins of Palmyra, then hung his body from a pole in a main square of the historic town, Syrian activists and the scholar's relatives said Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. (SANA via AP, File)
FILE - This file photo released on Sunday, May 17, 2015, by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows the general view of the ancient Roman city of Palmyra, northeast of Damascus, Syria. A Syrian official said Wednesday, June 24, 2015 that the Islamic State group has destroyed two mausoleums in the historic central town of Palmyra. (SANA via AP, File)
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