Pentagon Announces Troop Levels in Iraq, Syria

07 December, 2017, 07:05 | Author: Wade Massey

That is four times as many as officials had publicly acknowledged as recently as last month.

The number does not represent an increase in troop levels in the country, a Pentagon spokesman said, but instead reflects a more accurate count.

The Defense Department announced today there are 2,000 US troops in Syria, after last month reporting there were only 500.

U.S. troops are known to be training and providing support to the Arab-Kurdish fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces, who have been battling the Islamic State group in northern and eastern Syria.

The Defense Department under Secretary Jim Mattis had promised to provide more accurate estimates of US troops stationed overseas.

Manning also said on Wednesday there are about 5,200 USA troops in Iraq - a number that remains unchanged from past reports - but said that it is also shrinking.

According to the quarterly report of data Center of military resources of the Pentagon, as of September 30, 15298, the USA military was in Afghanistan, 8892 in 1720 in Iraq and Syria. The department had previously omitted forces on temporary rotation from the count, along with a number of other groups.

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The US defense Department said that soon will provide information about the exact number of American troops stationed overseas, reports Voice of America.

Last week, the US-led coalition announced it would withdraw 400 American Marines from combat who led a monthslong artillery barrage against IS in Raqqa.

"Operating under recognized global authorities, the USA military will continue to support local partner forces in Syria to stabilize liberated territory", Pahon said.

"We seek to balance informing the American public with the imperative of operational security and denying the enemy any advantage", he said.

Repeating previous statements from defense officials, Manning said that the U.S.is taking a "conditions-based" approach to the conflict against ISIS in Syria and is working with local partner forces to restore basic utilities and stand up local governments and police forces. "Their collective actions call into question their commitment to deal a lasting defeat to ISIS and other extremist groups", the colonel said.

But with Syrian negotiators walking out on the UN-backed Geneva talks this week, the Pentagon offered its heaviest criticism of Russian-led military efforts in recent memory. "Nor do they appear to be serious about the withdrawal of Iranian-backed militias". "That's local forces. That's people who make certain that ISIS doesn't come back", Mattis said, highlighting the USA desire to shift its focus to local forces providing stability. He said the USA -led coalition would continue to apply "continuous pressure on the terrorist networks wherever they operate".

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