US military 'planning to send more troops' to Syria

US military 'plans to send more troops' to Syria contradicting Trump's 'withdrawal' remarks
2 min read
03 April, 2018
The US military is considering sending reinforcements to Syria, defence officials have told CNN, contradicting Trump's promise a withdrawal would happen 'very soon'.
There are currently some 2,000 US troops in Syria [Getty]
The US military is planning to send more troops to northern Syria, several US defence and administration officials have said, despite President Donald Trump's declaration last week that a US withdrawal would happen "very soon".

CNN reports that plans to send reinforcements have been discussed for several days and were first considered before Trump's remarks last Thursday that reportedly baffled the Pentagon.

The national security council will meet on Tuesday to discuss the administration's next steps for the battle against the Islamic State group in Syria.

Some 2,000 US troops are currently leading an international coalition in the war-torn country.

Trump last week insisted that US forces would pull out of Syria "very soon" and lamented what he said was Washington's waste of $7 trillion in Middle East wars.

In a populist address to industrial workers in Ohio, Trump said US forces were close to securing all of the territory that IS once claimed.

"We'll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon. Let the other people take care of it now," he promised, to applause.

Late on Thursday, the Pentagon announced the death of US Army Master Sgt. Johnathan Dunbar who was killed by a roadside bomb in Manbij – the first US loss in Syria this year.

The 36-year-old sergeant, and British SAS soldier Matt Tonroe, were killed while on a classified mission to "kill or capture a known Islamic State member" according to Pentagon spokesman Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway. 

In a Twitter post paying his respects, Brett McGurk, the US special envoy to the anti-IS coalition, said the fight against the militant group continues.

Trump's eagerness to quit the conflict also counters a US Syria strategy announced in January by then secretary of state Rex Tillerson – who has since been sacked.

Tillerson argued that US forces must remain engaged in Syria to prevent IS and al-Qaeda from returning and to deny Iran a chance "to further strengthen its position in Syria".

In a speech at Stanford University, he also warned that "a total withdrawal of American personnel at this time would restore Assad and continue his brutal treatment against his own people".