Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Pentagon Revises Troop Numbers to 2000 in Syria; 5200 in Iraq

Pentagon Revises Troop Numbers to 2000 in Syria; 5200 in Iraq

Moments later, a Pentagon spokesman, Eric Pahon, interjected in the same news conference that the number of US troops actually was about 500, the number the Defense Department has long used for Syria.

Asked about the discrepancy, the representative of the Pentagon Colonel Rob manning said: "We are not ready to make a statement on the number of troops, which is different from what we said earlier". That number reflects the official 5,262 "force management level" previously reported by the Pentagon. Under force-management levels unveiled by the Barack Obama administration, the number of United States troops in Syria had been capped at 503 and 5,262 in Iraq, figures that did not account for temporarily deployed personnel. Gen. James B. Jarrard, told reporters during a news conference that there were about 4,000 USA troops in Syria.

Manning announced the new official figure for American servicemembers in Syria on Wednesday, saying Defense Secretary Jim Mattis wants to increase transparency about where and how troops are deployed. The department had previously omitted forces on temporary rotation from the count, along with a number of other groups.

Last month, the United States said there were only 503 U.S. troops in Syria and 5,262 USA troops in Iraq.

"It still excludes certain sensitive missions and certain personnel", said spokesman Eric Pahon, after being asked if the count includes US troops that "enable" local partner forces. The Pentagon first announced plans to revise the number on August 31, when they unveiled a higher troop count in Afghanistan.

The us military has promised to provide more information about the number of troops deployed outside the United States. Manning said the United States presence in Syria is "conditions-based" to ensure that IS can't reclaim lost ground or plot attacks in the West. The city once served as the de facto capital of the militant movement, but fell to the USA -led military coalition and its local partners in October. He said the Syrian regime and Russian actions have "demonstrated that countering ISIS and other extremist groups like Nusra Front and al-Qaeda is not their foremost priority".

The U.S. troops are also focused on training local police forces, ensuring humanitarian aid can flow into areas where it is needed and ensuring local governance where U.S. -backed forces liberated land from ISIS, he said. "Their collective action call into question their commitment to deal a lasting defeat to ISIS and other extremist groups".

"ISIS left a minefield when they started walking out", he said.

Manning added that Syria and Russian Federation did not offer a plan "for how to bring about a meaningful conclusion to the civil war" by addressing the future presence of terrorist groups like IS and Iran-backed Shiite militias that have flowed into the country.

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