Marines deploy to Syria with artillery

Cheryl Sanders
March 10, 2017

Let them fight each other and pick up the remnants.

Prior to the Iraqi forces' invasion of Mosul, Marines were deployed to Iraq.

More than two and a half years after the start of a USA air war against IS, the jihadists are under siege in western Mosul, abandoned to their fate by IS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

Kurdish female fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG), operating alongside with the Syria Democratic Forces, walk in northern province of Raqqa, Syria, May 27, 2016.

But the battle there is not yet won, and the Pentagon wants to make sure that the city of 300,000, a onetime propaganda showcase for IS, falls.

The SDF - the main U.S. partner in the war against ISIS in Syria - has been working with the coalition to encircle the embattled city since November.

US military leaders based in neighboring Iraq can take advantage of an existing authority to move troops in and out of both countries for short periods of time without exceeding the overall maximum level imposed by the Obama administration.

"A defense official would not speak to the size of the detachment deployed to Syria, but said it included elements of multiple artillery batteries, as well as support personnel, including infantry Marines", reported today.

Earlier this week, the Syrian Democratic Forces - an alliance of Kurds and Arabs that is now encircling al-Raqqa - cut off a major road leading east of al-Jazzrah region on the north-western outskirts of al-Raqqa.

Several hundred Special Operations troops have already been in Syria training local forces for months.

Turkey has warned of a major damage to U.S. relations with Ankara if Washington includes Kurdish forces in the Raqqah operation.

Axios reports that U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Joe Votel will likely testify before Congress about it on Thursday.

"This plan is a political-military plan", Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford told a think tank audience in late February.

A Kurdish military source told Reuters that further U.S. reinforcements were expected to arrive in the coming few days.

Efforts have been made to address the issue at a military level, "and there has to be an effort at the political level to address this", he added.

Taken together, the deployments and air raids signal a willingness by the Trump administration to escalate American military involvement in fighting the Islamic State and al Qaeda in some of their long-held sanctuaries.

But two months later, Trump said of ISIS, "I would bomb the shit out of 'em". To the south, Syrian government troops.

Votel's comments echo those made last month by the Gen. John Nicholson, head of the USA mission in Afghanistan, that he would likely need "a few thousand more" troops to take part in the training mission.

United States military commanders in Syria were restricted by what critics considered micro-management under the previous administration of Barack Obama.

Other reports by iNewsToday