U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Saturday that as many as 200 more American troops are being sent to Syria to help Kurdish and Arab fighters capture the Islamic State group’s key stronghold of Raqqa. The extra troops will include special operations forces and are in addition to 300 U.S. troops already authorized for the effort to recruit, organize, train and advise local Syrian forces to combat IS.

Addressing a security conference in Bahrain, Carter also took gentle jabs at U.S. Middle East partners for failing to provide more military muscle in the broader campaign to defeat IS and counter extremism. Without mentioning any by name, Carter suggested the U.S. has been the target of disingenuous criticism from “regional powers here in the Middle East” for not doing more to help fight extremism. READ MORE