Arab countries weigh sending ground troops to Syria

The Obama administration is talking with Arab allies about providing ground forces to help rebels in Syria fight the Islamic State, a senior State Department official told lawmakers Wednesday.

The comment by Anne Patterson, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, is the latest sign of how Russian military intervention has upended the nearly five-year-old conflict.

"We've had lots of discussions with our gulf allies and with Jordan about the possibility of introducing ground troops," she told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

With the Islamic State gaining ground and Russian power now backing the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, rebel groups backed by a U.S.-led coalition are being squeezed more tightly than ever, leaving Washington scrambling for ways to shore them up.