President Barack Obama plans to send as many as 250 more U.S. troops to Syria, bringing the total American presence on the ground to 300 to help fight Islamic State militants, U.S. officials said on Sunday.
The decision, which a U.S. official said would be announced in Hanover, Germany, on Monday, was first reported by the Wall Street Journal and confirmed an April 1 Reuters report that the Obama administration was considering a significant increase in U.S. forces.
The additional deployment aims to accelerate recent gains against Islamic State and appears to reflect growing confidence in the ability of U.S.-backed forces inside Syria and Iraq to claw back territory from the hardline Sunni Islamist group.
Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, controls the cities of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria and is proving a potent threat abroad, claiming credit for major attacks in Paris in November and Brussels in March.
While Obama has resisted putting U.S. troops into Syria, where a five-year civil war has killed at least 250,000 people, he sent 50 U.S. special operations forces to Syria last year in what U.S. officials described as a "counterterrorism" mission rather than an effort to tip the scales in the war.