FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – The announcement of U.S. boots on the ground in Syria resonated across North Carolina Friday.
A small number of U.S. special operations forces will be sent to northern Syria to work with local troops in the fight against Islamic State militants, the White House announced Friday.
The announcement marked the first time Americans will be deployed openly on the ground in the country.
For military wife Carianne Harris, the news comes with concern.
“It gets me emotional, my heart running just thinking about it,” she said. “Just imagine him going him going over there just. It’s awful.”
She said she’s worried even though her husband is not a part of the special operations forces the White House has said will be sent to Syria.
Fewer than 50 troops are expected to be deployed.
“Kind of angry about it,” said Emily Colon. Her dad is in the military. “I don’t want to see my dad get deployed again.”
Her father is a member of the Special Forces but doesn’t know if he will be affected by the announcement.
“He was in Desert Storm. He served in Afghanistan, Iraq. He was in Kuwait,” Colon said. “And in Syria right now, with all that’s going on, that would be 10 times worse than any war he’s been in.”
Others in Fayetteville support the decision to send in troops.
“Speaking just for myself, I’m in favor of it. I feel like we need to be more proactive in it in the first place,” said Andrew Lopez.
He believes the U.S. has a moral obligation to get involved in the fight against ISIS in Syria.
“At some point you take a stand for what’s right not because it’s easy or you get something out of it but because that’s what you do as a good person,” he said.
The White House insisted the commandos’ role should not be described as a “combat mission,” saying the troops would train, advise and assist local forces in an intensification of the U.S. effort against the Islamic State group.
But officials acknowledged forces would be taking risks in a dangerous part of the world, where the U.S. also is conducting airstrikes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.