“A plan to greatly increase the number of American special operations forces”

The U.S. administration is considering a plan to greatly increase the number of American special operations forces deployed to Syria as it looks to accelerate recent gains against Islamic State, U.S. officials told Reuters. The officials, with direct knowledge of the proposal’s details, declined to disclose the exact increase under consideration. But one of them said it would leave the U.S. special operations contingent many times larger than the around 50 troops currently in Syria, where they operate largely as advisors away from the front lines. The proposal is among the military options being prepared for President Barack Obama, who is also weighing an increase in the number of American troops in Iraq. A White House spokeswoman declined comment. The proposal appears to be the latest sign of growing confidence in the ability of U.S.-backed forces inside Syria and Iraq to claw back territory from the hardline Sunni Islamist group. Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, controls the cities of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria and is proving a potent threat abroad, claiming credit for major attacks in Paris in November and Brussels in March”.

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