Pentagon Revises Troop Numbers to 2000 in Syria; 5200 in Iraq

Pentagon Revises Troop Numbers to 2000 in Syria; 5200 in Iraq

Asked what the top number of USA troops in Syria was, he said he would have to check.

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

Now that it's the first week of December, that official figure has shot up to 2,000, even though no new troops were deployed, and indeed over 400 had just left.

Manning noted that troop numbers in Syria are "trending downward".

Manning also said there were approximately 5,200 USA troops in Iraq.

The U.S. military plans on staying in Syria as long as necessary to ensure the Islamic State group does not return, a Pentagon official told AFP on Tuesday, as the fight against the jihadists winds down.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning also said there are aboug 5,200 US troops in Iraq. Separately, the Pentagon also temporarily deployed Army Rangers to northern Syria over the summer, an attempt to keep the peace as Syrian Kurdish fighters liberated cities in areas where other armed groups were loyal to nearby Turkey.

As troops enter a stabilization phase, United States officials said there will not be clear front lines as American troops support efforts to remove mines and other explosives, return displaced people to their homes and support the growth of indigenous institutions in former IS-held territory that hasn't been seized by President Bashar al-Assad - who has long called the U.S. presence illegitimate - or Russian and Iranian forces backing the embattled Syrian leader.

"To ensure an enduring defeat of ISIL, the coalition must ensure it can not regenerate, reclaim lost ground, or plot external attacks", he said. Manning said the United States presence in Syria is "conditions-based" to ensure that IS can't reclaim lost ground or plot attacks in the West.


Operations in both countries are shifting as the terrorist group shrinks, said Eric Pahon, another Pentagon spokesman.

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.

Unlike Russia, the United States is not in Syria at the request or approval of the Damascus government.

"We are going to be in Syria for some time yet".

But U.S. military operations in Syria are expected to continue.

Washington has cited Article 51 of a United Nations charter allowing for self-defense of partner forces as legal justification for its military engagement, and that will remain the case going forward.

He said Russian Federation has done little to fight ISIS.

Mattis said last week that the USA effort in Syria is pivoting from a military-led operation to a diplomatic-led endeavor.

Moscow doesn't "appear to have a plan on how to bring a meaningful conclusion to the civil war that addresses the fundamental problems that led to the rise of ISIS, nor do they appear to be serious about the withdrawal of Iranian-backed militias", Pahon said.

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