"American officers began training Turkmen militants around Salma in the Latakia Province," the media outlet noted, adding that the mission was previously carried out in Turkey.
Blimey those 20-30 Commandos Obama is sending into the maw in Syria has the makings of a disaster movie all right…— George Galloway (@georgegalloway) 31 октября 2015
ISIL fighters, according to the Damascus-led forces, are not present in Latakia. For their part, Turkmen militants are said to be fighting along al-Nusra Front rebels against the Syrian army.
Washington's earlier efforts to train moderate Syrian rebels on the Turkish soil ended in failure. The program cost some $500 million and produced less than a hundred fighters, most of whom joined radical groups.
The move marks America's first sustained military presence in the country torn apart by warring radical groups.
Washington's revised strategy in Afghanistan and Syria fuels fears of an escalation of the US presence in the region despite Obama's repeated pledges to end it. The White House tried to dispel them by promising to keep the ground mission in Syria limited.
The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against ISIL targets in Syria since September 2014 but the radical Sunni group has remained largely immune to these efforts. Unlike Russia's campaign, Washington's operation was not authorized by Damascus.