Report: DOD considers recommending ground troops for Syria

Report: DOD considers recommending ground troops for Syria
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The Pentagon is reportedly considering proposing President Trump send conventional ground combat forces into Northern Syria for the first time to help speed up the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

"It's possible that you may see conventional forces hit the ground in Syria for some period of time," one Defense Department official told CNN Wednesday.

A Pentagon spokesman told The Hill the department has seen the report, but declined to comment. White House press secretary Sean Spicer also declined to comment to reporters.

Right now, about 500 U.S. special operation forces are authorized to be in Syria, though the exact number on the ground fluctuates.


But the United States hasn't yet sent conventional forces into Syria. Doing so would significantly increase the U.S. presence in a country with a battlefield complicated by its own civil war.

CNN said U.S. officials are characterizing the idea as “a point of discussion,” not a formal proposal.

The potential mission of the convention forces is also not clear yet. But one alleged goal would be to reassure Turkey that Kurdish forces aren’t a threat to its interests.

The United States considers Kurdish forces its most effective ground partner in Syria, but Turkey considers them terrorists who are an extension of Kurdish separatists in its own border.

The decision to send conventional forces into Syria would ultimately be up to Trump as commander-in-chief.

Trump has ordered the military to come up with a new plan to defeat ISIS. The 30-day review was ordered in a memorandum signed Jan. 28 and is examining whether any rules of engagement need to be changed and whether there are any new partners that can be added to the anti-ISIS coalition, among other aspects.