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4,000 American Troops in Syria Now?

Image: 4,000 American Troops in Syria Now?

An MV-22B Osprey lands during a 2009 exercise in Egypt. (Theodore Ritchie/U.S. Marine Corps)

By    |   Wednesday, 01 November 2017 10:18 AM

There are 4,000 American troops in Syria, a U.S. Army general told reporters during a news briefing Tuesday before quickly backing away from that number, the Military Times reported.

Maj. Gen. James B. Jarrard, commander of the Special Operations Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, gave the number during the televised briefing before stating that the actual number was 503, the publication said.

U.S. troop levels in Syria have been a mystery since the U.S. took the lead in a campaign to root out the Islamic State from Iraq and Syria, the Military Times reported.

The Washington Post reported that when reporters asked Jarrard to confirm the 4,000-troop figure in Syria, he apologized and said that there were only 500 soldiers in the country. Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon, who attended the same news conference, used the 503-soldier figure, the newspaper stated.

"The general misspoke," Pahon told The Washington Post after the briefing. "I don't know what 4,000 refers to. That's nowhere near an accurate number."

Some in defense circles believe there are far more U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq than the Pentagon officially admits, The Hill reported. The newspaper said the public troop count is kept artificially lower by moving forces around in the region and using specific personnel accounting methods.

Military officials said in August that there are about 11,000 U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and Jarrard acknowledged that there are 5,262 American troops in Iraq, The Hill reported.

"It’s widely acknowledged there are more than 503 in Syria and 5,200 in Iraq," Pahon told The Post. "These are our force management level numbers. They don't include temporary forces."

Jennifer Cafarella, of the Institute for the Study of War, told the Post that sensitivity over U.S. troop levels in Syria and Iraq goes back to the Obama administration.

"President Obama was forced to repeatedly scale up the U.S. role after it became clear that his initial strategy to partner with local forces could not generate the necessary outcomes without greater U.S. involvement," Cafarella told the Post.

"Whether or not Major General Jarrard's statement was accurate, the U.S was certainly drawn deeper into Iraq and Syria than it seems was originally planned. This troop creep reflects flaws in the design of U.S. strategy against ISIS that U.S. policymakers continue to fail to recognize," Cafarella continued.

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There are 4,000 American troops in Syria, a U.S. Army general told reporters during a news briefing Tuesday before quickly backing away from that number, the Military Times reported.
4000, american, troops, syria
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2017-18-01
Wednesday, 01 November 2017 10:18 AM
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