One of the central commitments of Barack Obama's presidency has been keeping US troops out of wars in the Middle East.

But that commitment seems, once again, to be in doubt after the US decided to commit special forces to Syria, in what the White House says will be an advisory role.

US officials have been left trying to explain how the deployment does not undermine Obama's earlier promises not to "put boots on the ground".

The announcement also threatened to undermine talks being held in Vienna on how to end the war in Syria.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the move was decided "unilaterally and without reference to the Syrian leadership". He added that "neither the United States nor Russia want the conflict to become a so-called proxy war".

So, is deepening US and Russian involvement making a resolution to the civil war even more difficult?

Presenter: Jane Dutton


Mario Abou Zeid - Research analyst at the Carnegie Middle East Center.

David Mack - Scholar from the Middle East Institute

Vladimir Sotnikov - International affairs expert at Russia Academy of Sciences

Source: Al Jazeera