The US president has made the case, again and again, that sending ground troops to Syria would be a mistake.
Instead, Barack Obama has favoured a combination of air strikes and military advisers on the ground, to help US allies in Syria repel the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.
Now the deployment of so-called non-combat troops is about to get larger - an additional 250 special forces, bringing the total to 300.
They will not be leading the fight on the ground, but will be essential in providing the training and assisting local forces.
The main opposition group - the High Negotiations Committee - says it welcomes the decision. What difference, if any, will the extra 250 soldiers make?
Will they affect the outcome of the civil war?
Presenter: Martine Dennis
Marwan Kabalan - Syrian academic and writer.
James Denselow - Syria analyst.
Lawrence Korb - Former assistant defence secretary in the US.
Source: Al Jazeera