Assad: Russia Fighting ISIS While Israel, US, EU Support Terrorism in Syria
Mar 16 2017
The force of 200 U.S. Marines, equipped with 155mm howitzers, which can lob GPS-guided shells 20 miles, have dug in west of Raqqa.
Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for OIR, told Business Insider previously that the moves into Syria were to pre-position U.S. forces so they can provide logistical and fire support to "Syrian partnered forces" who will eventually assault Raqqa.
"The Americans lost almost every war", he continued, citing Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford told a think tank audience in late February it would be "a political-military plan".
A new report released on Friday by the United Nations Human Rights Council charged the Syrian regime with committing war crimes in the last seven months, including by bombing schools and water supplies.
The volatile situation in northeastern Syria led the Trump administration to approve sending the conventional Marine force to bolster the mostly Special Forces contingent of about 500 already in Syria.
This week, the America - led coalition announced that around 400 additional United States forces had deployed to Syria to help with the Raqqa campaign and to prevent any clash between Turkey and Washington-allied Syrian militias that Ankara sees as a threat.
The Marines have yet to fire a round from their.155mm howitzers - "not to my knowledge, I don't believe so", Dorrian said in a video briefing from Baghdad to the Pentagon.
According to the Washington Post, the soldiers are meant to provide support for the local Kurdish and Arab militias in their drive to encircle and take Raqqa, a major ISIS base. Army Rangers were sent to the city of Manbij, west of Raqqa, as a visual deterrent for Russian, Turkish and Syrian opposition fighters operating there.
Syria's government and Russian Federation both deny targeting civilians or using torture or extrajudicial killings.
We do not really what this term stands for, ' he said.
"The US deployment is small so far, but it will probably grow, and it makes us a part of the game for the Middle East that Obama was reluctant to participate in", says Andrew Tabler, a fellow specializing in Syria and US policy in the Levant at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "It's a concern of ours, it's quite clear it's a concern of theirs".
At the time, a USA military spokesman described the Stryker deployment to Manbij - perhaps the first time the U.S. military carried out an operation in war-torn Syria with the Stars and Stripes unfurled - as a "deliberate action to reassure our coalition members and partner forces ... and ensure all parties remain focused on defeating our common enemy, ISIS".
"Momentum is clearly on the side of the ISF who are imposing their will" against the increasingly fractious ISIS defenders, Dorrian said.
"Too many times the global community has not prepared the post-conflict period in time".
"We do see them turn on each other on some occasions", he said.