United States Sending Special Forces To Syria
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The United States is sending a small number of special forces into Syria, expanding the United States' involvement in the fight against ISIS there from the air to the ground.
Less than 50 special operators will be based in Northern Syria, CBS News' Margaret Brennan reports, to work with groups like Kurdish Peshmerga forces.
While this puts boots on the ground, the U.S. does not consider this a combat deployment, the administration says.
Aircraft continue to destroy ISIS targets every day in Iraq and Syria, but as CBS News' David Martin and Elizabeth Palmer reported on Thursday, the Obama administration is frustrated by the glacial rate of progress.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter earlier in the week told Congress about a revamped strategy to fight ISIS, which boils down to "the 'three R's' -- Raqqa, Ramadi and Raids." Specifically, the U.S. military will support Syrian opposition forces as they engage in more aggressive fighting in Raqqa, where ISIS has declared its capital in Syria. And the U.S.-led coalition is also supporting Iraq's security forces in Ramadi, the capital of the Anbar province in western Iraq.
The revamped strategy also includes more robust air raids, at a time when Russia is also conducting airstrikes against ISIS in Syria. Carter also suggested stepped up "raids" could include supporting more on-the-ground missions.
"We won't hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against ISIL or conducting such missions directly," Carter told the Armed Services Committee. "Whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground."
Last week, Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler became the first American killed in action when he was mortally wounded in a raid on an ISIS prison. The United States' stepped-up strategy could increase the risk of American combat casualties.