March 13, 2017

The U.S. Troop Presence in Syria Is at Its Highest Ever. But How Long Are They on the Ground for and Why?

By Nicholas Heras

Source: Time

Journalist(s) Jared Malsin

The Trump Administration is intensifying America’s involvement in the ground war in Syria, having announced on March 9 that it is sending 400 more troops to join the fight against ISIS there.

The new deployment of Army Rangers and a U.S. Marine artillery unit raises fresh questions about the scope and timeline of the U.S. mission in Syria, where the number of American troops is now approaching a high of around a thousand (Washington has not disclosed an exact number). The U.S. is also sending another 2,500 troops to a staging base in Kuwait, awaiting possible deployment to Iraq or Syria.

Recent comments from U.S. officials suggest that the military is contemplating a deployment in Syria that extends far beyond the defeat of ISIS as a conventional armed force. In his testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 9, Army General Joseph Votel, who leads the U.S. Central Command, said additional forces may be needed in the future to help with “stability and other aspects of the operations.” The Pentagon is also considering lifting a formal cap of roughly 500 U.S. troops permitted on the ground in Syria, a limitation imposed by former President Barack Obama, according to the Washington Post.

Read the full article at Time.

  • Nicholas Heras

    Bacevich Fellow, Middle East Security Program

    Mr. Nicholas A. Heras is the Bacevich Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), working in the Middle East Security Program. From 2013-2014, he served as a rese...