How The US Deploying Troops To Syria Fits In The Wider Conflict

A Syrian Democratic Forces fighter poses for

The plans, which still need to be approved by President Donald Trump and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, would mark a significant uptick in USA boots on the ground in Syria as part of the fight against the Islamic State group.

There are already in Syria about 500 U.S. Special Operations forces operating alongside the SDF, in addition to about 250 Rangers and 200 Marines.

The deployment would be into the western regions of the state, and the troops would not, at least initially, be used in an active combat role, according to the news outlet.

This 1,000 troops is in addition to other recent deployments to Syria announced by the Pentagon, and when completed is expected bring the number of United States troops in Syria overall to close to 2,000. The escalation of US troops, however, could signal that the USA was almost ready to begin its SDF-led offensive east toward Raqqa-prompting a negative reaction from Russian Federation and the Syrian government, which has called US forces "invaders" because Washington neglected to formally coordinate with Damascus or Moscow.

Syria blasted Turkey over its intervention in the country and support for opposition forces trying to remove President Bashar Assad from power, saying it has killed thousands, and called on the U.N. Security Council to press Ankara to withdraw its troops. On Wednesday, the Washington Post, citing defense officials, reported that up to 1,000 additional troops from the 82nd Airborne Division and 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit are being considered for the Raqqa fight.




Dorrian said it is possible Turkish forces may play a role in Raqa.

"Basically you would have a force bolstered by allies with US leadership", one source told WaPo.

"They can observe each other's movement", Dorrian said.

Defense officials also said U.S. Arab allied troops may also join the effort.

Syria is marking the sixth anniversary of its brutal civil war, which began with anti-government protests in March 2011 and has killed more than 320 000 people. While the Trump administration isn't breaking from the overall strategy of relying on partner forces, its decision to get rid of force caps and commit conventional troops in Syria is "certainly a change", Exum said.

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