Defense Secretary Ash Carter says the new team of special operations forces into Syria recently carried out a successful mission and identified Syrian Arab fighters the coalition can work with to oust Islamic State militants from their self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa.

Speaking after meeting with several members of the team and commanders, Carter said the U.S. commandos went into Syria to "identify and link up with local forces, especially Syrian Arab forces that were willing to fight ISIL but needed our help."

He said it was encouraging to find some, and the mission suggests there are more out there who would be willing to "move south" and strike Raqqa.

President Barack Obama approved sending as many as 50 special operations troops to Syria in October.