President Barack Obama said Monday the US would send up to 250 more special forces and other military personnel to Syria to help rebels fight Islamic State group jihadists.

Obama was in Germany for talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel, and both later met the British, French and Italian leaders to discuss the battle against IS in its self-declared “caliphate” across northern Syria and Iraq.

In a speech in the German city of Hanover, Obama hailed NATO partners’ progress so far in pushing back IS, which he called “the most urgent threat to our nations”.

“A small number of American special operations forces are already on the ground in Syria and their expertise has been critical as local forces have driven ISIL out of key areas,” he said, using an alternative acronym for the militant group.

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