US Could Soon Double Ground Troops in Syria
US military coming up with plans for up to 1K more troops in Syria
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2017 2:13 PM CDT
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Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces stand near US military vehicles on the outskirts of the Syrian town of Manbij earlier this month.   (Arab 24 network, via AP, File)

(Newser) – The US could double the number of ground troops it has in Syria over the next few weeks, the Washington Post reports. As Syrian Democratic Forces, comprised of Kurdish and Arab fighters, prepare for an assault on Raqqa—essentially the capital of the Islamic State in Syria—the US military is devising plans for sending up to 1,000 more troops to the area. There are currently approximately 500 US Special Operations forces, 250 Rangers, and 200 Marines in Syria.

The new troops wouldn't be directly involved in combat, at least at first. They'd mostly be serving as advisers to Syrian Democratic Forces. However the move could lead to direct combat by US troops. The troop increase is likely to be approved by Defense Secretary Mattis and would then need President Trump's approval. Trump has accused the Obama administration of being weak on Syria, where it had been hesitant to commit ground troops.

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