US Likely to Deploy ‘Up to 1,000 More Ground Troops’ to Syria
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Up to 1,000 US soldiers could join the current 500 officially stationed in northern Syria ahead of the battle to remove Daesh (ISIL) from its de facto capital of Raqqa, US defense officials said.
The mainly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) managed to cut off all land supply routes leading in and out of Raqqa last week. The offensive to retake the town itself is expected to begin imminently.
The potential deployment, news of which was leaked to the Washington Post, would mean lifting the current caps on ground troops numbers in the conflict.
President Donald Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama strongly resisted calls to involve more ground troops in the fight against Daesh on the grounds that boots on the ground would draw the US deeper into Syria’s complex civil war.
Analysts have also noted an increased US military presence in the country could cause clashes with Russian forces, which operate in the country at the request of ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, The Independent reported.
The new troops would not engage in direct combat, an official said speaking on the condition of anonymity, instead fulfilling the same advisory roles to Arab and Kurdish SDF fighters in Syria the US military currently holds over the border as part of the Iraqi coalition attempts to drive Daesh from Mosul.