The White House on Monday announced it will send 250 additional troops inside Syria, a move the Pentagon said would “build on what’s working” with the 50 special operations forces already there. There is no public timeline for when the troops will enter Syria, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said during a briefing at the Pentagon. The group will include logistics and medical support, in addition to special operators tasked with supporting local forces. The move comes after the White House announced plans to send 217 more troops to Iraq as well. The new forces in Syria will not be engaged in direct combat or be on the front lines against ISIS, but instead will be “improving the picture of the battlefield,” and have the ability to call in airstrikes, Cook said.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.