Pentagon admits U.S. has 2000 troops in Syria

The US defense Department said that soon will provide information about the exact number of American troops stationed overseas, reports Voice of America.

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".

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.

He said the USA -led coalition would continue to apply "continuous pressure on the terrorist networks wherever they operate".

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.

Last week, the US-led coalition announced it would withdraw 400 American Marines from combat who led a monthslong artillery barrage against IS in Raqqa.

Over the summer, hundreds of US troops - including Special Operations forces and artillerymen - deployed to Syria as the assault on Raqqa was prepared.

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The Obama-era policy - continued under President Trump until recently - aimed to draw down U.S. troops in Afghanistan and create a limited presence to defeat IS in Iraq and Syria. Manning said this new phase presents an opportunity to refine how the department reports troop counts to the public.

He reiterated USA support for the United Nations -led talks in Geneva peace talks. The department had previously omitted forces on temporary rotation from the count, along with a number of other groups. "Their collective actions call into question their commitment to dealing a lasting defeat to [IS] and other extremist groups". "Nor do they appear to be serious about the withdrawal of Iranian-backed militias", said Manning.

The move bitterly angered USA commanders, who saw it as giving the Taliban a countdown on when they could resume operations in earnest. About 3 percent of Syria remained under Islamic State control.

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. The Arab-dominated RISF that was stood up to stabilize Raqqa is 1,600 members strong and recently graduated 500 new members, coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon said at an August briefing.

Washington has cited Article 51 of a United Nations charter allowing for self-defense of partner forces as legal justification for its military engagement, and that will remain the case going forward.

"The YPG is armed, and as the coalition stops offensive ops, then obviously you don't need that; you need security - you need police forces". "We're going to go exactly along the lines of what the president announced".

The Pentagon said the new public estimate still does not account for all US troops in Iraq and Syria.

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