On condition of anonymity, a defense official confirmed to The Associated Press that discussions are being held regarding the deployment of up to 1,000 U.S. ground troops in northern Syria. This is expected to put the number of American servicemen in the country near 2,000, almost four times the official limit. The plan is expected to roll out over the next few weeks.
The deployment of the additional troops, who will join the roughly 800 security forces now in the country, has yet to be approved by U.S. President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis. The troops will reportedly be called on to further support millitary strategy in both Syria and Iraq in assaults on Islamic State group to aid the fight against terrorism in the region. The Pentagon had recently announced a deployment of artillery forces near Islamic State stronghold Raqqa to support a Kurdish-Arab alliance in their fight against the terror groups.
According to the Washington Post, the additional forces would come from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. “About 75 percent of that force that is now isolating Raqqa is Syrian Arab, and this is a reflection that’s demographically fairly consistent with what you would find in that area,” U.S. military spokesman Col. John Dorrian told AFP on Mar. 15.
This offensive move by the United States will significantly boost ally Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces' fight against the Turkish People's Protection Unit. Dorrian said it is possible Turkish forces may play a role in Raqqa. “We haven’t come to an agreement about what that role will be or if there will be one, but we talk to Turkey... every day.”