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The US reportedly plans to send special forces to Syria to fight ISIL

Reuters/Umit Bektas
There will be American boots on this ground, after all.
By Svati Kirsten Narula
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

This story is developing and will be updated as warranted.

Marking what the Obama administration is expected to describe as a “shift” in strategy, the US reportedly plans to deploy a small cohort of special operations forces to northern Syria, where American efforts to weaken the Islamic State have failed so far.

The White House will announce the move sometime today (Oct. 30), according to unnamed senior officials quoted by NBC News, ABC News, and the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ report says that up to 50 commandos will be involved. ABC says that president Barack Obama has authorized “between 50 and 100“ special operations forces, and that these troops will not be in combat or on the front lines. They’ll be working with the rebel group known as the Syrian Arab Coalition.

An unnamed source also told ABC that the administration has ”no intention of engaging in long-term, large-scale combat operations the likes of which we previously saw in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The administration recently announced the shuttering of its $500 million effort to train rebel fighters against ISIL.

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