US Secretary of State John Kerry says a number of American special operations troops, due to be deployed to Syria, would only fight ISIL terrorist group in the Arab country.
“President [Barack] Obama has made a very strong and forceful and simple decision entirely in keeping with his originally stated policy that we must defeat and destroy ISIL,” Kerry told a news briefing during a visit to the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, on Saturday.
He said the forces that are the first pledge of American military boots on the ground in the country, are not going to get involved in “Syria’s civil war.”
“It is not an action focused on [Syrian President Bashar] Assad, it focused exclusively on ISIL and in augmenting our ability to rapidly attack ISIL,” he added.
On Friday, the Obama administration announced that it would deploy up to 50 special operations troops to northern Syria to advise “Kurdish and Arab forces” in their fight against ISI militants.
The US and its regional allies, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, have been backing militants fighting the Syrian government.
US warplanes have been bombing purported ISIL positions in Iraq and Syria for over a year now. But American ground troops have rarely, if ever, participated directly in combat operations against the terrorists.