The U.S. will send a small number of U.S. special operations forces into Syria as part of a shift in its strategy against ISIS, officials said Friday.
A senior administration official confirmed that President Barack Obama has authorized a contingent of less than 50 special operations forces to deploy into northern Syria.
“We have been focused on intensifying elements of our strategy that have been working, while also moving away from elements of our approach that have proven less effective,” the official explained.
The White House was expected to announce the decision later Friday.
The move will be described as a “shift” but not a “change” in U.S. strategy against ISIS, another senior U.S. official told NBC News. The official said the special operations forces will be stationed in northern Syria and work alongside groups with a “proven track record” of fighting ISIS.
That could include working with Kurdish and allied actors who have come together under the umbrella of the “Syrian Democratic Forces,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the announcement was not yet public.
Rep. Mac Thornberry, chair of the House Armed Services Committee, said the expected announcement made clear the White House was feeling the pressure of a “failed policy” against ISIS.
“I’m concerned that the administration is trying to put in place limited measures — too late — that are not going to make a difference,” he told NBC News. “I don’t see a strategy towards accomplishing a goal, I see an effort to run out the clock without disaster.”
Read more: NBC News