US commandos head into Syria

Defense Secretary Ash Carter testifies on Capitol Hill, before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Carter said Tuesday that the U.S. is willing to step up unilateral attacks against Islamic State militants in Iraq or Syria (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senior U.S. officials say a small number of U.S. special operations forces will be deployed to northern Syria to work with local ground forces in the fight against Islamic State militants.

The deployment marks the first time U.S. troops will be working openly on the ground in Syria.

U.S. officials say President Barack Obama ordered the deployment of fewer than 50 commandos to help coalition forces coordinate with the local troops.

One official also says the U.S. will be sending additional aircraft, including F-15 fighters and A-10s to the Incirlik air base in Turkey.

The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.