When NBC reported earlier that DoD confirmed US special forces were on the ground in Syria "assisting Kurdish forces in fight against ISIS" it crashed the entire carefully-structured US diplomatic narrative. Not that US spec ops are or are not on the ground in Syria - of course they are - but just like with the Russia/Ukraine escalation and even the Greek negotiation with Brussels, the question has always been one of PR spin: who will be the first to admit responsibility for upcoming escalation and who will be stuck with the blame if the 'worst case' scenario were to unravel.
As such US admission would then permit Russia to admit its own troops are on the ground in Syria, "purely to fight ISIS of course" and nothing to do with protecting their vital interest, i.e., Syrian territorial sovereignty from being used by Qatar gas pipelines, in the process setting off the next stage of pre-war foreplay, one in which both sides officially admit they are on the ground, if not to challenge ISIS, then certainly to use the Assad presidency as a proxy smokescreen for whatever comes next.
Which is why we were counting the minutes until the scrambling Pentagon would vehemently deny the NBC report. The answer: just under 4 hours.
Which incidentally may be the first official "please ignore the Freudian slip" excuse in Pentagon history.