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Obama to Send More Troops to Syria

  • VOA News

President Barack Obama speaks about the new rules aimed at deterring tax inversions, April 5, 2016, in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington.

President Barack Obama speaks about the new rules aimed at deterring tax inversions, April 5, 2016, in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington.

President Barack Obama plans to send another 250 U.S. troops into Syria to help opposition fighters battle Islamic State, U.S. officials said late Sunday.

Obama plans to make a formal announcement Monday in Hanover, Germany - the last stop on a week-long trip where he discussed the Islamic State threat with German, British and Saudi leaders.

The extra U.S. forces are expected to include medical and intelligence personnel.

It would bring the number of U.S. troops in Syria to 300.

Earlier, Obama told BBC television there needs to be more than just a military effort to solve Syria's problems.

Instead of direct military confrontation with Syrian forces, Obama said the international community should apply pressure to Russia and Iran, “who, essentially, are propping up President Bashar al-Assad,” to broker a deal with Syrian rebels to form a new transitional government.

Civil defense members rest amid rubble of damaged buildings after an airstrike on the rebel-held Tariq al-Bab neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, April 23, 2016.

Civil defense members rest amid rubble of damaged buildings after an airstrike on the rebel-held Tariq al-Bab neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, April 23, 2016.

Obama called the war in Syria a “heartbreaking situation of enormous complexity.”

"In order for us to solve the long-term problems in Syria, a military solution alone - and certainly us deploying ground troops - is not going to bring that about,” he said.

While ruling out an invasion of Syria, Obama said the U.S.-led coalition will continue airstrikes against Islamic State targets in places like Raqqa and Mosul, “to try to isolate those portions of the country, and lock down those portions of the country that are sending foreign fighters into Europe.” In doing so, he said it would slowly shrink the amount of territory held by IS.

Obama called the situation in Syria one that is “transnational in nature,” and he chided those countries that haven’t taken part in trying to solve the issue, but still “want the United States to do something about it.”

“You can’t have it both ways,” he said.

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