Photo via DoD

With ISIS expelled from its de facto capital in Syria and ousted from its last urban stronghold in Iraq, the Department of Defense finally announced the number of U.S. military personnel on the ground in the region... sort of. On Nov. 27, the Pentagon pegged the number of publicly disclosed troops at around 1,720 in Syria in the Defense Manpower Data Center. The new DMDC data appears to reflect a threefold increase over the 507 troops frequently cited by defense planners as “official” troop levels in the country.

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Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo

President Donald Trump has delegated the White House’s power to set troop levels in Iraq and Syria to the Pentagon, placing the authority primarily in the hands of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Buzzfeed News first reported April 26.

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