Tags: marines | leaving | syria | raqqa

Marines Leaving Syria After Raqqa Liberated

Image: Marines Leaving Syria After Raqqa Liberated
US-made armoured vehicles bearing markings of the US Marine Corps are seen on a road north of Raqa in northern Syria on March 27, 2017. (Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 01 December 2017 02:04 PM

The Marines are leaving Syria after more than 400 of them helped local forces retake Raqqa, the former de facto capital of the Islamic State, the coalition led by the United States said Thursday, according to The Hill newspaper.

In a four-month battle, Syrian Democratic Forces, with support from the Marines, recaptured Raqqa in October after the city had long been in the hands of ISIS. The 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment arrived in Syria on Sept. 15 during the fight to replace another unit, The Hill reported.

"With the city liberated and ISIS on the run, the unit has been ordered home," the Combined Joint Task Force for Operation Inherent Resolve said in a statement, according to ABC News. "Its replacements have been called off."

The Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish and Arab rebel group fighting ISIS in Syria, with help from the Marines, conducted an intense, street-to-street battle involving an estimated 2,500 ISIS fighters, ABC News noted.

"The departure of these outstanding Marines is a sign of real progress in the region," coalition director of operations Brig. Gen. Jonathan Braga said in a statement, per ABC News. "We're drawing down combat forces where it makes sense, but still continuing our efforts to help Syrian and Iraqi partners maintain security.

"Our remaining forces will continue to work by, with and through partner forces to defeat remaining ISIS (fighters), prevent a re-emergence of ISIS and set conditions for international governments and NGOs to help local citizens recover from the horrors of ISIS' short-lived rule," Braga added.

Reuters reported that the Pentagon says that the U.S. officially has 503 troops in Syria, but U.S. officials said there are closer to 2,000 U.S. troops in the country before the departure of the Marines from Raqqa.

Most of the troops are special operations forces, working to train and advise local coalition partner forces, including providing artillery support against Islamic State militants, Reuters stated.

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The Marines are leaving Syria after more than 400 of them helped local forces retake Raqqa, the former de facto capital of the Islamic State, the coalition led by the United States said Thursday.
marines, leaving, syria, raqqa
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2017-04-01
Friday, 01 December 2017 02:04 PM
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