Bloomberg quotes Rafik Hariri Center Resident Senior Fellow Frederic C. Hof on the role of US special forces in Syria to assist combating ISIS and their benefits:

The U.S. fight against Islamic State has been hampered in both Syria and Iraq by the absence of sufficient ground forces capable of seizing and holding significant territory with the support of coalition combat air, said Fred Hof, a former State Department adviser on Syria.

“Deploying a handful of U.S. special operations forces to Syria will not change this situation significantly,” Hof said. “It is a Band-Aid of sorts, although a potentially useful one.”

In addition to helping local troops fight Islamic State, Hof said the special forces may have another payoff: By putting U.S. personnel on the ground in Syria, “Washington may be able to make a credible pitch to regional powers to provide the ground-combat components that can sweep ISIL from Syria, thereby tilting the fight in Iraq in a favorable direction,” Hof said, using an acronym for the terrorist group.

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