U.S. Says 2,000 Troops Are in Syria, a Fourfold Increase

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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in October in Washington. He ordered in which the Pentagon disclose brand-new troop totals in Syria.

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Al Drago for The brand-new York Times

WASHINGTON — About 2,000 American troops are in Syria fighting the Islamic State, a Pentagon spokesman said on Wednesday, almost four times the total previously disclosed as the Trump administration improvements how troop numbers are publicly counted.

The brand-new total, ordered disclosed by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, counts service members on temporary duty of six months or less who were not included in Obama-era totals. The 1,500 or so previously undisclosed troops in Syria include traditional combat forces like infantry, artillery as well as also also forward air controllers trained to call in airstrikes, as well as support personnel, said Eric Pahon, a Pentagon spokesman.

He called the previous public total of 503 an “artificial construct” in which became increasingly inaccurate as the campaign against the Islamic State progressed.

Military officials said in which the 2,000 personnel in Syria represented something of a high-water mark as the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq as well as also also Syria winds down. The American-led coalition has retaken 97 percent of the territory once held by the militants, as well as also also the military is usually working to stabilize recently liberated areas, including the restoration of basic essential services, the removal of explosive materials as well as also also the distribution of humanitarian aid.

“The campaign to defeat ISIS is usually currently in a brand-new phase in Iraq as well as also also Syria,” Col. Robert Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, said, using an acronym for the Islamic State.

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