The White House said on Friday that the US strategy in Syria had “not changed” despite the sending for the first time a contingent of special forces on the ground.
“Our strategy in Syria has not changed,” said Josh Earnest, spokesman for Obama, pounding the military to be sent there – “less than 50” – will not have a “combat mission” .
“The core of our military strategy in Syria is to strengthen the capacity of local forces to confront the Islamic State group on the ground in their country,” he added.
Repeatedly questioned about a possible increase in this number in the future, Mr. Earnest has not ruled out such a possibility.
“I do not want to predict the future,” he said.
“It is undeniable that (the soldiers) take real risks,” he continued, noting that they would be “equipped to defend themselves.”
How long will they stay there? The spokesman Obama remained very evasive.
“I would not describe (this mission) as a permanent” Has he said, adding that he was not able to give a “date” at which the US military could return to the United States.
The United States will deploy a small contingent in Syria fifty special forces to participate for the first time on the ground in the war effort against the armed group Islamic State (EI), said Friday in AFP a US official.
This is an unprecedented decision by President Barack Obama that will send American soldiers on the ground in Syria – in an advisory role – the Chief Executive of the US having so far refused to officially and preferring the use of aerial bombardment.
“The president authorized the deployment of a small staff of US special operations forces in northern Syria,” said an officer of the US administration.
These elite soldiers deployed on the ground in Syria “will help coordinate local troops on the ground and coalition efforts to counter the IE,” said the official, without being more precise.
The 50 elite soldiers will thus be officially confined to an advisory role and support the moderates so-called Syrian armed rebel groups, and will therefore not directly involved in combat operations.
The US military would be deployed near the Turkish border and should in particular provide logistical support to Kurdish fighters of YPG, people’s protection units, armed wing of the Democratic Union Party.
Furthermore, another official of the Obama administration has confirmed that the US military would deploy ground attack aircraft A-10 and F-15 fighters on a Turkish air base, also in the context of the fight the international coalition against Jihadist group EI.
The United States are piloting for over a year this coalition of over 60 countries that bombed positions of IE and other jihadist groups in Syria and also in neighboring Iraq.
Meanwhile, Russia has for one month of air strikes in Syria, officially to fight against “terrorism”, but Moscow is accused of not targeting the IE and want to actually strengthen the regime of his Syrian ally that fights against Moderate called rebellion.
The United States and Russia lead in this weekend’s international diplomatic meetings in Vienna to try to find a political way out of the conflict, which has claimed more than 250,000 lives since its outbreak in March 2011.
US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, had said earlier this week that his country could take action against the IE ground in Syria and Iraq.
Some experts had then argued that the US military would increase the presence of its special forces assisting Kurdish fighters and allied militias.