Obama: I've been 'consistent' on boots on the ground in Syria

Story highlights

  • "I've been consistent throughout that we are not going to be fighting like we did in Iraq with battalions and occupations," Obama said
  • On Friday, the White House announced "less than 50" Special Operations forces would advise and assist forces combating ISIS in Syria

Washington (CNN)President Barack Obama said Monday that his decision to place U.S. Special Operations forces in Syria is "consistent" with his promise not to put boots on the ground.

"I've been consistent throughout that we are not going to be fighting like we did in Iraq with battalions and occupations," Obama told NBC's Lester Holt. "That doesn't solve the problem."
    On Friday, the White House announced the deployment of "less than 50" Special Operations forces to advise and assist rebel forces combating ISIS in Syria. The deployment of the U.S. Special Ops troops is the most significant escalation of the American military campaign against ISIS to date.
    "Keep in mind that we have run Special Ops already," Obama noted Monday. "And really, this is just an extension of what we were continuing to do."
    He added, "We are not putting U.S. troops on the frontlines fighting firefights with ISIL," using another term for ISIS.