Pentagon revises U.S. troops numbers in Syria and Iraq

There are about 2,000 US troops deployed in Syria, the Pentagon said Wednesday - a number that is four times more than any official figure that USA officials have previously acknowledged, and yet still lower than at the height of operations in Syria. Under force-management levels unveiled by the Barack Obama administration, the number of U.S. troops in Syria had been capped at 503 and 5,262 in Iraq, figures that did not account for temporarily deployed personnel.

"We will be in Syria as long as it takes to make sure that ISIS is not afforded the ability to reestablish safe havens and plan and conduct attacks", he said of the Trump administration's "conditions-based strategy".

Manning also said there are about 5,200 troops in Iraq.

"We are going to be in Syria for some time yet".

The figure reflects an order by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to revise how the Pentagon accounted for deployed personnel carrying out major operations in Iraq and Syria.

Pentagon officials in August, for example, acknowledged that there are about 11,000 USA troops now serving in Afghanistan - well above the 8,400 forces previously reported.

The disclosure comes about five weeks after a senior US military officer, Army Maj.

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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.

United Nations -backed peace talks are ongoing in Geneva, and Pahon said the USA continues to support these as the "only path to a legitimate political resolution to the conflict". "Their collective actions call into question their commitment to dealing a lasting defeat to [IS] and other extremist groups". About 3 percent of Syria remained under Islamic State control.

"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".

Yet it's not clear exactly which Syrian partners the remaining American troops will be supporting to create "sustainable" and "ethnically diverse" local security forces.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis told reporters Friday that the USA military mission in Syria was being reconfigured to better support diplomatic objectives, including the UN-led Geneva process aimed at bringing an end to the Syrian Civil War. The Pentagon hopes to recover heavy weaponry from the People's Protection Units (YPG), but the group may keep some small arms and light vehicles.

"As the coalition stops offensive (operations), then, obviously, you don't need that, you need security - you need police forces". The Pentagon's budget for the new fiscal year will provide $13 billion for the operation next year, including $1.8 billion to train and equip partner forces in Iraq and Syria.

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