Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Pentagon: US committed to Syria until ISIS areas stabilized

Pentagon: US committed to Syria until ISIS areas stabilized

"The United States will continue necessary counterterrorism and stabilization effort", Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning said.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis told reporters Friday that the U.S. military mission in Syria was being reconfigured to better support diplomatic objectives, including the UN-led Geneva process aimed at bringing an end to the Syrian Civil War.

However, the Russian Ministry of Defense said Monday that it had begun working with Arab and Kurdish groups operating east of the Euphrates River, an area of operations for the USA advisers and the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, highlighting an increasingly complex battle space.

The Pentagon has officially announced that there are now 2,000 troops in Syria - a fourfold increase from the previous figures given.

The Pentagon declined to say why it took three months longer to disclose more accurate troop counts for Iraq and Syria than Afghanistan.

Though the Pentagon had always been very public about the fact that their deployment to Iraq was a permanent one, the war in Syria is different, in no small part because the Syrian government never authorized USA troops to deploy there, and isn't supporting the idea of them staying.

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

At least 800 people have left the United Kingdom to join ISIS in Iraq or Syria.

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

"To ensure an enduring defeat of ISIL, the coalition must ensure it can not regenerate, reclaim lost ground, or plot external attacks", he said. US advisers are primarily focused on operations to remove thousands of improvised explosive devices and other threats left behind by the terrorists so locals can safely return to their homes.

Coalition forces are still needed in the two countries, Manning said, adding that they will now focus on "train, advise and assist" missions.

Like this: