Troops in Syria

On October 30, President Obama and the White House announced that less than 50 troops will be deployed in Syria later this year to help defend the country against ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria -also could be referred to as ISIL). White House spokesman Josh Earnest announced the news. These troops will be special operation troops that are meant to avoid combat missions. Staying anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, the goal is to gain control of the key ISIS city of Raqqa, Syria with the help of the fighters of the affected countries battling ISIS. The troops will be assisting in the training of the Syrian forces against ISIS according to Earnest. There is no set time frame for how long those few special troops will stay. As of December 1, the number of US troops being sent overseas has jumped to 200. These troops will be based in Iraq but can conduct raids across the Iraq-Syria border

This new plan from President Obama has counteracted his original stance from September 2013 about how he would never send troops to Syria saying on twitter, “I will not put American boots on the ground in #Syria. I will not pursue an open-ended action like Iraq or Afghanistan.”  White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz said that the administrations initiative has, “no intentions of long tern ground combat [in Syria].”

This decision has not gone without controversy. Virginia Democratic Senator, Tim Kaine said, “The decision of whether to place citizens in harm’s way in defense of this nation-to declare war- must be made by the people through their elected representatives.” Republican Senator John McCain said that sending additional troops overseas is, “a belated step forward.”  In a Gallup poll published November 12, 53% of Americans said that they oppose sending the troops to Syria.

After the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, France has stepped up its air game against ISIS by sending bombing missions to the key city of Raqqa. Russia is also joining the fight by teaming up with France and the United States in retaliation for the commercial jet that was bombed down over Egypt on October 31.