US to deploy additional soldiers to support Syrian forces in fight against ISIS
The US Department of Defense (DoD) is to deploy additional troops to Syria as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) begin the next phase of their operations to seize ISIS-controlled territory.
Nearly 200 soldiers will be sent to help local forces recapture the city of Raqqa from ISIS.
The additional troops being deployed include special operations forces, trainers, advisers and explosive ordnance disposal teams.
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said: “This latest commitment of additional forces within Syria is another important step in enabling our partners to deal ISIL a lasting defeat.”
Soldiers from air power and special operations forces will join approximately 300 US Special Operations Forces already in Syria.
The personnel will provide SDF with training, advise-and-assist operations, airstrikes and material support.
The SDF initially started the operation to isolate Raqqa on 5 November, and has so far destroyed ISIS heavy weapons, fortifications, bomb-making facilities, vehicles, decoys and caches.
Since the start of the operation, the coalition has conducted more than 300 strikes, delivering more than 850 munitions in support of its ground-based partners to enable the isolation of Raqqa and defeat of ISIS in Syria, according to a statement posted on the US DoD's website.
According to Carter, the Middle East comprises more than 58,000 American personnel, including more than 5,000 on the ground in Iraq and Syria, along with air, ground, maritime and ballistic missile defence assets.
Image: US Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the Manama Dialogue in Bahrain. Photo: courtesy of DoD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley.