Beirut (AFP) – US soldiers are in Kobane, the town in northern Syria nearly destroyed in fierce fighting with the Islamic State group, to train Kurdish forces to battle the jihadists, Kurdish sources said Thursday.
Mustapha Abdi, an activist in the town on the Turkish border, told AFP the American instructors had arrived “in recent hours”, in what is the first official deployment of US ground troops in Syria.
A source with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) said the Americans would help plan offensives against two Syrian cities held by IS — Jarablus and the jihadists’ Syrian “capital”, Raqa.
At the same time, they would have help coordinate with the Kurds and their Arab and Syriac Christian allies on the ground air strikes on IS by the US-lead coalition, the YPG source said. Abdi said that the troops who had arrived were a “first group of instructors” who would train the Kurds.