06:13 GMT +310 December 2019
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    Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) (File)

    Kurds Say Pentagon Plans to 'Send 1,000 Troops to Syria in the Coming Weeks'

    © AFP 2019 / Delil souleiman
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    A representative of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance largely made up Kurdish and Arab militias, has confirmed that the Pentagon is planning to deploy an additional 1,000 US ground troops to Syria to assist the SDF in the upcoming operation aimed at liberating Raqqa, the de facto capital of Daesh's caliphate.

    "Every two days the US deploys a large amount of weapons, primarily heavy armaments, to the region. They have sent tanks, armored vehicles, missiles, sniper rifles, mortar launchers and other types of weaponry," the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Sputnik Turkey. "In addition, the United States has told us that a decision was made to send an additional 1,000 US troops to take part in the Raqqa operation."

    According to unconfirmed reports, this deployment is likely to take place in the coming weeks.

    US service personnel are expected to serve in a training, advisory and assistance capacity during the anti-Daesh campaign on one of the last militant strongholds across the Middle East. They will not take part in combat, at least initially.

    "American soldiers will teach us to use heavy armaments. They will serve as military advisors during the operation and coordinate airstrikes of the US-led coalition planes," the source said.

    According to the information provided by the SDF, their forces are currently located 4 kilometers (nearly 2.5 miles) to the north, 18 kilometers (11.2 miles) to the east and 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) to the south of Raqqa

    Barack Obama pledged to refrain from deploying American boots on the ground in Syria, but later reversed his decision once it became apparent that the US-led coalition was struggling to destroy Daesh. The US has deployed hundreds of special operations troops to the war-torn country to ostensibly train and assist its local allies in their counterterrorism campaigns.

    Most recently, Washington sent 400 Marines and Army Rangers to assist the Syrian Democratic Forces in their operation to free Raqqa, which Daesh seized in January 2014. The upcoming deployment, if confirmed, will double the number of US troops sent to Syria.

    US troops are reported to have set up bases in northern Syria, including the cities of Kobani, Rimelan, al-Hasakah, al-Hawl, Tel Abyad, Shaddadi and Manbij. More than 1,000 US troops are said to be present in the region, with the majority located to the south of Manbij and Kobani.

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    Tags:
    Syrian Kurds, military operation in Syria, boots on the ground, ground military operation, US troops, counterterrorism, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Daesh, Syria, United States, Raqqa
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