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Pentagon revises USA troops numbers in Syria and Iraq
07 December 2017, 07:39 | Erica Roy
Pentagon signals open-ended troop commitment in Syria
The U.S. military plans to stay in Syria as long as necessary to ensure the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) does not return, a Pentagon official told AFP on December 5.
Iraqi forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces have liberated about 97 percent of the people and land that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria once claimed as the new caliphate, he said.
"We will be in Syria as long as it takes to make sure that ISIS is not afforded the ability to reestablish safe havens and plan and conduct attacks", he said of the Trump administration's "conditions-based strategy". "We are simply revising how we internally conduct force management and publicly report the USA force commitment in Iraq and Syria", said Manning.
Over the summer, hundreds of USA troops - including Special Operations forces and artillerymen - deployed to Syria as the assault on Raqqa was prepared.
According to the quarterly report of data Center of military resources of the Pentagon, as of September 30, 15298, the United States military was in Afghanistan, 8892 in 1720 in Iraq and Syria.
"The troops are changing their stance as a result", he said.
"We seek to balance informing the American public with the imperative of operational security and denying the enemy any advantage", he said.
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.
The U.S. military, along with other nations in a US-led coalition, began bombing IS in late 2014 but until now has largely declined to address what its role in the tangled conflict might be after the jihadists are beaten.
In his statement Tuesday, Pahon criticized Russian Federation and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as impediments to stabilizing the situation there, saying that countering ISIS, al Qaeda and other terrorist groups is not of the "foremost priority" of Russian Federation and Syria. "Their collective actions call into question their commitment to dealing a lasting defeat to [IS] and other extremist groups".
Unlike Russia, the United States is not in Syria at the request or approval of the Damascus government. "Nor do they appear to be serious about the withdrawal of Iranian-backed militias".
Yet it's not clear exactly which Syrian partners the remaining American troops will be supporting to create "sustainable" and "ethnically diverse" local security forces. The city once served as the de facto capital of the militant movement, but fell to the USA -led military coalition and its local partners in October. "We're going to go exactly along the lines of what the president announced". "If a major shift occurs, then we'll come back out with a new, official number". The Pentagon's budget for the new fiscal year will provide $13 billion for the operation next year, including $1.8 billion to train and equip partner forces in Iraq and Syria.
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