Pentagon: About 2000 USA troops in Syria

Pentagon: US committed to Syria until ISIS areas stabilized

That is four times as many as officials had publicly acknowledged as recently as last month. That number reflects the official 5,262 "force management level" previously reported by the Pentagon.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning also said there are aboug 5,200 US troops in Iraq.

The United States has about 5,200 troops in Iraq and 2,000 in Syria, and those numbers are trending down, Pentagon officials said here today.

The United States now has approximately 2,000 troops on the ground in Syria, where they have been helping train and advise Kurdish and Arab partner forces in the fight against IS.

The Defense Department under Secretary Jim Mattis had promised to provide more accurate estimates of USA troops stationed overseas. Manning declined to say how many American troops were in Syria or Iraq at the height of urban combat operations - those in Raqqa or Mosul, for example - that required larger footprints of US combat advisers.

The US defense Department said that soon will provide information about the exact number of American troops stationed overseas, reports Voice of America.

"This is not an announcement of a troop increase in either Iraq or Syria".

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"The Syrian regime and Russian federation's actions have thus far demonstrated that countering [IS] and other violent extremist groups like [Jabhat Fatah al-Sham] and al-Qaeda is not their foremost priority", Manning said.

Last week the Pentagon announced that 400 Marines who had been providing artillery support for the offensive on the former ISIS capital city of Raqqa would return to the U.S. These 400 Marines are not included in the 2,000 troop count.

"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".

The U.S. military, along with other nations in a US-led coalition, began bombing IS in late 2014 but until now has largely declined to address what its role in the tangled conflict might be after the jihadists are beaten.

A solution to the Syrian civil war is the best way to ensure groups like ISIS do not take advantage of the chaos and confusion to impose their ideology, the colonel said.

As troops enter a stabilization phase, USA officials said there will not be clear front lines as American troops support efforts to remove mines and other explosives, return displaced people to their homes and support the growth of indigenous institutions in former IS-held territory that hasn't been seized by President Bashar al-Assad - who has long called the USA presence illegitimate - or Russian and Iranian forces backing the embattled Syrian leader. "Nor do they appear to be serious about the withdrawal of Iranian-backed militias".

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