According to White House sources fewer than 50 US special forces will be sent into Syria to help coalition forces in their fight against ISIS. They mainly will support the air strikes.

The move forms part of a shift in US strategy in its fight against the Islamic State. The special-operations forces will work alongside previously vetted groups in northern Syria.

During this week’s United States Senate Committee on Armed Services Hearing, United States Secretary of Defense Ash Carter had laid out the three Rs of America’s Syria strategy: Raqqah, Ramadi,  and Raids

  • According to Carter, there are already friendly forces located within 3o miles of Raqqah, one of the strategically important cities held by ISIL.
  • Ramadi, located in the province of Anbar province is another strategically important target. It is therefore important to retake and hold ground afterwards. From Ramadi, coalition forces can then plan their next step, freeing Mosul.
  • The goal is to strengthen these forces and to increase the number of air strikes against high value targets as intelligence improves, as well as against ISIL’s oil enterprise, which is crucial to financing their operations.

The deployment of special forces is an integral part of this new strategy.