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US Orders Special Advisor Troops to Syria


This undated file image posted on a militant website on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 shows fighters from the al-Qaida linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) marching in Raqqa, Syria

This undated file image posted on a militant website on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 shows fighters from the al-Qaida linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) marching in Raqqa, Syria

President Barack Obama has approved sending 50 American “military advisors” to northern Syria.

These forces will coordinate local ground forces. They will also help the coalition of nations trying counter the terrorist Islamic State group. Those nations include Great Britain, France, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada and others.

This is the first time the U.S. government is officially sending ground forces to Syria for more than a raid or a specific mission.

In addition, government officials told reporters at the White House that Obama approved meetings with Iraqi leaders. The goal of the meetings is to create a special-operations force to weaken and defeat IS leaders and networks.

And, Obama has ordered more A-10 and F-15 warplanes to NATO's airbase in Turkey.

A senior official said the Obama administration is "intensifying" the counter-IS campaign. The administration made the decision after considering studies about the effectiveness of previous anti-IS tactics.

The U.S. has made "good progress" in Iraq and Syria when it has worked closely with effective partners on the ground, the White House said.

Officials stressed that diplomats are still trying to reach a political solution in Syria. In Vienna, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting with diplomats from Iran and Russia. Those countries are the two main allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

I’m Kelly Jean Kelly.

John Featherly reported on this story for VOANews.com. Kelly Jean Kelly adapted this story for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

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