Obama to Send 250 Additional Military Personnel to Syria, Official Says

It will include mix of special operations and support personnel.

ByABC News
April 24, 2016, 6:29 PM

— -- President Obama will announce Monday that he is sending up to 250 additional military personnel to Syria to assist local forces in the fight against ISIS, a senior administration official confirmed to ABC News.

The personnel will include a mix of special operations forces and support personnel, the official said. The president will discuss this step during remarks at the Hannover Messe fairgrounds in Germany Monday morning.

In October, the president directed the Pentagon to send up to 50 special operations forces into Syria to assist the Syrian opposition in the fight against ISIS, meaning that with Monday’s announcement, the total of American military personnel in the country could go up to 300.

In an interview with the BBC released today, Obama again ruled out deploying ground troops to Syria and discussed the importance of the campaign to defeat ISIS.

"It would be a mistake for the United States, or Great Britain ... to send in ground troops and overthrow the [Bashar al-] Assad regime," he told the BBC.

"Prosecuting the campaign against ISIL is critical, and although I don't anticipate that in the next nine months it will be finished, because, unfortunately, even a small pocket of extremists, if they're prepared to die themselves, can still wreak havoc on many of our cities. But I do think that we can slowly shrink the environment in which they operate and take on strongholds like Mosul and Raqqa that are the beating heart of their movement," he said.

The president will also attend a meeting with European leaders to discuss security issues –- including the situation in Syria –- and to encourage them to bolster their intelligence sharing between their countries in the wake of the Brussels and Paris attacks. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will host the meeting, which will also be attended by British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.