The Pentagon is publicly revealing that a larger number of U.S. troops are stationed in Syria, after helping local fighters clear most Islamic State-held areas in the war-torn country. That number reflects the official 5,262 "force management level" previously reported by the Pentagon.
It's merely a long-delayed confirmation that the troop numbers the Pentagon had been citing were inaccurate.
As of today, the Pentagon says it has approximately 2,000 troops in Syria, up from the 500 figure it was touting as recently as last month.
Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, said the new number was being provided in the interests of transparency, but stressed the figure was approximate so as to not provide information to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The revised number of USA troops in Iraq remained the same as was previously acknowledged, about 5,200, although Manning said the number of US forces was also trending downward.
According to the quarterly report of data Center of military resources of the Pentagon, as of September 30, 15298, the United States military was in Afghanistan, 8892 in 1720 in Iraq and Syria.
In his statement Tuesday, Pahon criticized Russian Federation and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as impediments to stabilizing the situation there, saying that countering ISIS, al Qaeda and other terrorist groups is not of the "foremost priority" of Russian Federation and Syria.
The military's "conditions-based" phrase to define troop commitments is in part a reaction to the administration of Barack Obama, which insisted on a calendar-based withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. Last week, about 400 Marines in an artillery unit - 1st Battalion, 10th Marines - that was carrying out strikes against the Islamic State in the city of Raqqa returned to the United States.
Mattis said last week that the US effort in Syria is pivoting from a military-led operation to a diplomatic-led endeavor.
"We seek to inform the American public with the imperative of operational security and denying the enemy any advantage", Manning said.
Repeating previous statements from defense officials, Manning said that the U.S.is taking a "conditions-based" approach to the conflict against ISIS in Syria and is working with local partner forces to restore basic utilities and stand up local governments and police forces. With the liberation, fewer USA forces are needed to support Iraqi and Syrian forces kinetically. "Their collective action call into question their commitment to deal a lasting defeat to ISIS and other extremist groups". "That's local forces. That's people who make certain that ISIS doesn't come back", Mattis said, highlighting the U.S. desire to shift its focus to local forces providing stability.
"They also do not appear to have a plan for how to bring a meaningful conclusion to the civil war that addresses the fundamental problems that led to the rise of ISIS".
Iraqi, Syrian and coalition forces will continue to capitalize on the momentum generated "and apply continuous pressure on the terrorist networks wherever they operate", Manning said.