The United States has committed an additional 203 special forces to the anti-ISIS war in Syria, the US Secretary of Defense announced on Saturday.
“I can tell you today that the United States will deploy approximately 200 additional US forces in Syria,” Ashton Carter said in Manama, Bahrain, AFP reported.
The additional troops will join the 300 already in Syria assisting in the campaign to liberate Raqqa from ISIS and will “directly assist NATO ally Turkey in the counter-ISIL fight,” the US Central Command tweeted.
US special forces have been on the ground in northern Syria assisting the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the war with ISIS, to Turkey’s repeated objections.
Ankara considers the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) to be an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a named terrorist organization. Turkish leaders have called out the United States on several occasions for their support of the YPG and SDF, accusing them of making a distinction between good and bad terrorists.
The US considers the SDF a key ally and the most capable force on the ground, taking on ISIS in northern Syria.