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.
Despite recent ISIS setbacks, the Pentagon said Tuesday that the U.S. military mission in Syria would continue until areas reclaimed from ISIS are stabilized, adding that United States troops would only withdraw when "conditions" on the ground allowed. 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.
"It still excludes certain sensitive missions and certain personnel", said spokesman Eric Pahon, after being asked if the count includes USA troops that "enable" local partner forces.
Coalition efforts will also shift to ensure the terror group can not regenerate or to ensure another group doesn't try to emulate ISIS and its ugly philosophy.
"The United States will sustain a "conditions-based" military presence in Syria to combat the threat of a terrorist-led insurgency, prevent the resurgence of ISIS, and to stabilise liberated areas".
"We are going to be in Syria for some time yet". With the liberation, fewer US forces are needed to support Iraqi and Syrian forces kinetically. "I don't want to say that's 10 years, I also don't want to say it's not", Pahon said.
The move bitterly angered USA commanders, who saw it as giving the Taliban a countdown on when they could resume operations in earnest. About 3 percent of Syria remained under Islamic State control.
The Defense Department under Secretary Jim Mattis had promised to provide more accurate estimates of US troops stationed overseas. US forces in Syria and Iraq are "trending downward", he added, without specifying whether the 2,000 troops in Syria included the 400 Marine artillerymen that the Pentagon announced last week would soon leave the country. "That's local forces. That's people who make certain that ISIS doesn't come back", Mattis said, highlighting the USA desire to shift its focus to local forces providing stability.
Russian Federation and the Assad regime in Syria are interested in regime survival, not in defeating the terror groups that launched their hateful rule from Raqqa, the spokesman said.
Still, successive USA administrations have themselves been criticized for failing to articulate a coherent plan for Syria, and the elapsed time has seen Russian and Iranian influence bloom.
Over the summer, hundreds of USA troops - including Special Operations forces and artillerymen - deployed to Syria as the assault on Raqqa was prepared.
America's support to the SDF has infuriated North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey, which sees the Kurdish component as "terrorists".
Manning also said Wednesday that the United States has about 5,200 troops in Iraq, essentially the same force size as the Pentagon acknowledged under Obama.
These efforts will include restoration of essential services, de-mining and removal of explosive materials, as well as facilitating the flow of humanitarian aid. Allowing this to happen should set the conditions for refugees to return to their homes.
More than 340,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the Syrian war, and millions have been displaced.
Military officials have long said that despite several high-profile ISIS defeats, military operations against the terror group would continue for some time.
Rousey appeared at WrestleMania 31 and was spotted in the crowd during WWE's Mae Young Classic tournament. According to two sources speaking with USA Today , Rousey is finalizing details of her move to WWE .
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