US to deploy special operations forces in Syria: Official

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
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:

1 PHOTOS
US-Kurdish raid against Islamic State in Iraq, ISIS (AP photos)
See Gallery
US to deploy special operations forces in Syria: Official
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

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:

1 PHOTOS
ISIS destroys temple of Baalshamin, Palmyra
See Gallery
US to deploy special operations forces in Syria: Official
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

More from NBC News:
Polish Court Rejects U.S. Polanski Extradition Request
Body Found on Train Tracks Amid Hunt for Missing Trader
Oregon Girl is 16th U.S. Plague Case This Year

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners