Obama ramps up Special Forces mission in Syria against IS
President Barack Obama announced on Monday the biggest expansion of U.S. ground troops in Syria since its civil war began, but the move was unlikely to mollify Arab allies angry over Washington's cautious approach to the conflict.
The deployment of 250 Special Forces soldiers increases U.S. forces in Syria roughly six-fold and is aimed at helping local militia fighters build on victories in which territory has been clawed back from Islamic State.
Defense experts said giving more fighters on the ground access to U.S. close air support could shift momentum in the war. But a senior member of the Saudi royal family who asked not to be identified dismissed the decision as "window dressing."
In announcing the deployment, Obama trumpeted the gains made on the ground against Islamic State.
"Given the success, I've approved the deployment of up to 250 additional U.S. personnel in Syria, including Special Forces, to keep up this momentum," Obama said in a speech in the German city of Hanover on the last stop of a foreign tour that has taken him to Saudi Arabia and Britain.
"They're not going to be leading the fight on the ground, but they will be essential in providing the training and assisting local forces as they continue to drive ISIL back," he added, using an acronym for Islamic State, also known as ISIS or Daesh.