Why Obama is sending US special forces to Syria, explains Kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry says that the US is going after ISIS by deploying special forces in Syria. 

REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski/Pool
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry listens to a translation during a news conference at the Ala Archa compound in Bishkek, October 31, 2015.

A decision by US President Barack Obama to send special forces to Syria is strictly focused on fighting Islamic State insurgents and does not signify the United States is entering the civil war there, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said.

"President 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 Daesh," Kerry said, using the Arabic term for Islamic State or ISIS.

"It is not a decision to enter into Syria's civil war. It is not an action focused on (Syrian President Bashar) Assad, it focused exclusively on Daesh and in augmenting our ability to rapidly attack Daesh," Kerry told a news briefing during a visit to Kyrgyzstan's capital, Bishkek.

Asked about the prospect of the United States sending more troops, or getting drawn deeper into the conflict, Kerry said: "I can't predict what the future will bring when our policy is to destroy Daesh, to fight back against this evil. But I do think the president has made a judgment that I completely advocated for and concur (with)."

The White House announced on Friday that dozens of special operations troops will be deployed to northern Syria to advise opposition forces in their fight against Islamic State, which is also known by the acronym ISIL.

The decision marked a policy shift for Obama, who has long resisted sending troops to avoid getting sucked into another war in the Middle East.

As The Christian Science Monitor's Howard LaFranchi wrote:

The announcement does reflect a move away from the failed US effort to train and equip large numbers of opposition fighters and is a reemphasis of parts of the anti-IS strategy that Defense Department officials consider to have shown more promise.

In addition to the troop deployment, the administration will also be sending additional fighter jets to Turkey to ramp up airstrikes on IS positions.

Kerry, at the start of a tour of the five ex-Soviet republics in Central Asia, described Islamic State, as "a destroyer and it is threatening to take actions against America, Canada and Mexico, against countries all around the world. So ISIL is a... threat that we have to respond to."

Kerry is in the region in part to reassure governments that are anxious about the threat from Islamist militants, especially those operating in nearby Afghanistan, according to a U.S. official who briefed reporters on the trip.

Kyrgyzstan's acting foreign minister, Erlan Abdyldayev, said at the news briefing with Kerry that his government was concerned about instability in northern Afghanistan.

He said the subject would be discussed when, later in his tour, Kerry meets foreign ministers from the five central Asian states in the Uzbek city of Samarkand. (Additional reporting by Olga Dzyubenko in BISHKEK and Olzhas Auyezov in ALMATY; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Why Obama is sending US special forces to Syria, explains Kerry
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today