US Draws Up Plans For 1,000 More Troops In Syria As Raqqa Siege Looms

news
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Brandon Maldonado

Defense officials have drawn up plans for as many as 1,000 ground troops to head to Syria in the coming weeks, the Washington Post reported this afternoon. If approved by President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, the deployment would nearly double the American presence in the country ahead of the expected offensive on the Islamic State’s de facto capital, Raqqa.


The decision could bring U.S. troops into closer contact with the enemy and deepen the military’s involvement in a conflict marked by numerous armed factions with conflicting priorities.

In early March, U.S. Army Rangers were sent to the city of Manbij, west of Raqqa, as a visual deterrent for Russian, Turkish and Syrian opposition fighters operating there. That deployment of ground-combat troops marked a dramatic shift in U.S. policy in Syria. Only days later, a Marine artillery battery was deployed near Raqqa, mirroring the use of firebases in Iraq ahead of the Mosul offensive, and strikingly reminiscent of the tactics employed during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The artillery position near Raqqa has already come under fire, the Post’s T.M. Gibbons-Neff reported.

While the additional troops may not serve in a direct combat role, given the complex and volatile nature of the conflict in Syria, they may be at considerable risk.

The troop increases are expected to happen alongside a White House decision to officially end the troop caps put in place in Iraq and Syria by the Obama administration. At the moment, those limits are set at 5,000 in Iraq and 500 in Syria.

Related: Did The US Military Just Invade Syria? »

If sent, the additional troops would support the Syrian Democratic Forces, a consortium of Kurdish and Arab fighters in the north, with U.S. forces offering expertise on bomb disposal and coordinating air support and indirect fire. Currently, there are roughly 500 U.S. special operations forces in Syria operating alongside the SDF, plus another 250 Rangers and 200 Marines.

The additional troops would probably be drawn from units already in the region, according to the Post — possibly the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, which currently has 2,500 troops in Kuwait.

Casperassets.rbl.ms

Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

Take $75 off a Casper Mattress and $150 off a Wave Mattress with code TASKANDPURPOSE

And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Karl Munson pilots a 26-foot boat while Petty Officer 2nd Class Gabriel Diaz keeps an eye on a boarding team who is inspecting a 79-foot shrimp boat in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of New Orleans, La., on April 27, 2005

Radio transmissions to the U.S. Coast Guard are usually calls for help from boaters, but one captain got on the radio recently just to say thanks to the men and women who are currently working without pay.

Read More Show Less
REUTERS/Carlos Barria

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Saturday to receive the remains of four Americans killed in a suicide bombing in northern Syria.

Trump, locked in a battle with congressional Democrats that has led to a nearly month-long partial government shutdown, announced his trip via a pre-dawn tweet, saying he was going "to be with the families of 4 very special people who lost their lives in service to our Country!"

Read More Show Less

A low-flying C-17 gave Nashville residents a fright on Friday when the aircraft made several unannounced passes over the city's bustling downtown.

Read More Show Less
George W. Bush/Instagram

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Former President George W. Bush is calling for an end to the partial government shutdown, which is about to hit the one-month mark and is currently the longest shutdown in US history.

In an appeal made on Instagram, the 43rd president called on "leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown." The caption was posted with an image of him and former First Lady Laura Bush giving pizza to their Secret Service detail.

Read More Show Less