World Pentagon: Four times as many US troops in Syria than previously acknowledged

04:06  07 december  2017
04:06  07 december  2017 Source:   The Hill

The Pentagon struggles to provide accurate numbers for deployed troops

  The Pentagon struggles to provide accurate numbers for deployed troops <p>Defense Department officials were pressed Monday to explain inconsistencies between their official statements about troop counts in multiple war zones and statistics made publicly available on government-operated websites, discrepancies that raise questions about the deployment of U.S. forces worldwide.</p>Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has made assurances that his agency would be more forthcoming about how many troops he has committed to operations in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, but those changes have not taken effect.

The Defense Department on Wednesday acknowledged that the U . S . has roughly 2,000 troops on the ground in Syria , four times more than what officials had claimed just a month ago. The number does not represent an increase in troop levels in the country, a Pentagon spokesman said

Thousands more American troops are serving in Iraq and Syria than has been previously acknowledged by the Pentagon , a new report finds. According to the Defense Manpower Data Center's quarterly report from September, there were 1,720 American troops in Syria

Pentagon watchdog finds 'serious deficiencies' in submitting criminal info to FBI database © Provided by The Hill Pentagon watchdog finds 'serious deficiencies' in submitting criminal info to FBI database The Defense Department on Wednesday acknowledged that the U.S. has roughly 2,000 troops on the ground in Syria, four times more than what officials had claimed just a month ago.

The number does not represent an increase in troop levels in the country, a Pentagon spokesman said, but instead reflects a more accurate count. The U.S. military had as recently as November said the official troop count in Syria was 503.

Army Col. Rob Manning told reporters that troop numbers are actually "trending downward" in Syria, with the recent departure of 400 artillery Marines. Those forces left the country after helping local forces retake the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria's (ISIS) one-time de facto capital of Raqqa.

More than 400 U.S. troops leaving Syria: coalition

  More than 400 U.S. troops leaving Syria: coalition More than 400 U.S. Marines and their artillery are leaving Syria after helping to capture the city of Raqqa from Islamic State, the U.S.-led coalition fighting the militant group said on Thursday. Last month, U.S.-backed militias declared victory in Raqqa, Islamic State’s former headquarters in Syria, after months of fighting with the help of the U.S.-led coalition."With the city liberated and ISIS on the run, the unit has been ordered home. Its replacements have been called off," the coalition said in a statement, using an acronym for Islamic State.

Two US officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the Pentagon could, as early as Monday, publicly announce that there are slightly more than 2,000 US troops in Syria .

Thousands more American troops are serving in Iraq and Syria than has been previously acknowledged by the Pentagon , a new report finds. According to the Defense Manpower Data Center's quarterly report from September, there were 1,720 American troops in Syria

Manning would not say whether the 400 Marines were part of the new 2,000-troop figure.

"It's approximately 2,000 now, could be more, could be less, we don't want to showcase our capabilities to the enemy," Manning said at the Pentagon.

The current official troop count under an accounting system known as the Force Management Level does not always reflect the U.S. commitment on the ground accurately, as commanders bring in temporary forces or hire more contractors.

Pentagon officials in August, for example, acknowledged that there are about 11,000 U.S. troops currently serving in Afghanistan - well above the 8,400 forces previously reported. That number is now at closer to 14,000 after the Pentagon sent roughly 3,000 additional U.S. troops to help end the 16-year conflict in Afghanistan.

Manning also said on Wednesday there are about 5,200 U.S. troops in Iraq - a number that remains unchanged from past reports - but said that it is also shrinking.

Officials said the amount of forces are declining in Syria and Iraq as operations shift away from combat and more toward train and advise, explosives cleanup, reconstruction, and maintaining security and preventing ISIS from returning.


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The Pentagon is voicing growing alarm that the risky flying of Russian pilots in Syria could lead to a mishap -- or even the nightmare scenario of a US jet shooting down a Russian warplane. Defense officials this week highlighted several recent close calls with Russian planes, including one Wednesday where a pair of US F-22s intercepted two Russian jets over a part of Syria the Pentagon says they are not meant to be operating in.

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