Secretary of State John Kerry said in Kyrgyzstan yesterday that President Barack Obama’s decision to send U.S. troops into Syria is not a decision to enter Syria’s civil war.

“It is not a decision to enter into Syria’s civil war,” he said.

Kerry explained that the administration’s goal is to destroy the Islamic State, one of the groups waging war in Syria against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Asad.

“The Islamic State controls large areas of northeastern and central Syria, from which it continues to launch assaults on forces opposed to and aligned with the government of President Bashar al Asad,” the Congressional Research Service said in a report published on Oct. 9. “Meanwhile, fighting elsewhere pits government forces and their foreign allies against a range of anti-government insurgents, some of whom have received limited U.S. assistance.”

The administration announced on Friday afternoon that Obama was sending about 50 U.S. Special Operations forces into Syria. Congress held not vote to authorize the deployment.

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