Pentagon: US Troops Will Stay In Syria "As Long As We Need To"

US forces plan to stay in Syria "as long as they need to” support local partners and to ensure that terrorists will not return, a Pentagon official told AFP on Tuesday. The announcement comes as the Islamic State has ceased to be a reality, and as the Syrian Army is on the cusp of final victory over ISIS in remaining pockets of eastern Syria.

“We are going to maintain our commitment on the ground as long as we need to, to support our partners and prevent the return of terrorist groups,” Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said. “To ensure an enduring defeat of ISIS, the coalition must ensure it cannot regenerate, reclaim lost ground, or plot external attacks.”

Artillery support in Syria for the US-backed SDF. Image source: US Marine Corps 

Though officials recently hinted that the Pentagon would soon formally acknowledge that it has "about 2,000" American troops in Syria, the long standing official number of 503 still hasn't changed. In late October a top military official briefly admitted to 4,000 troops on the ground in Syria during an interview, but awkwardly backtracked on his statement and said, “I’m sorry, I misspoke there, there are approximately 500 troops in Syria."

As we reported previously, President Trump has made a point of troop levels needing to be kept secret from “the enemy,” but consistent lies from the Pentagon about their deployments have made the figures less a closely guarded secret than a mockery of transparency.

Perhaps more worrisome is that Pahon further said US troop commitment in Syria would be "conditions-based" - which indicates that the Pentagon has no timeline or near-term plans for exiting Syria, though recent reports suggest that after Raqqa was liberated by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) a troop withdrawal of hundreds of Marines may be in progress.

"This is essential to the protection of our homeland as well as to defend our allies and partners... The United States will sustain a 'conditions-based' military presence in Syria to combat the threat of a terrorist-led insurgency, prevent the resurgence of ISIS, and to stabilize liberated areas," Pahon continued.

But all available evidence and the recent history of American action in Syria suggests that the only real reason for open ended commitment in Syria is so that Washington can achieve its own geopolitical goals in the region: to oppose the Damascus government, Iran, Hezbollah and Russia. The stated reason of bombing ISIS inside Syria (without Syrian approval, which amounts to an act of aggression in a sovereign state's territory) never had anything to do with some noble-minded goal of defeating terrorism, but was always the Trojan Horse backdoor attempt to defeat the Syria-Iran-Iraq-Hezbollah 'resistance axis' that stretches from Tehran to South Lebanon.

Though American officials have from day one emphasized the short-term and temporary nature of the Pentagon operations, last summer Turkey controversially exposed the locations of 13 US bases in Syria, and the US-backed Syrian YPG had previously indicated seven American military bases in northern Syria. The Pentagon, however, has never confirmed base locations or numbers - though less than two years ago the American public was being assured that there would be "no boots on the ground" due to mission creep in Syria.

During the last year of the Obama administration for example, State Department spokesman John Kirby was called out multiple times by reporters for telling obvious and blatant lies concerning promises of "no boots on the ground" in Syria - something which US officials falsely and consistently claimed. Yet now the American public is being told, with not so much as even the pretense of national or congressional debate, of "commitment on the ground as long as we need to" in Syria.

But we've pointed out the obvious many times before. Whether it's the Middle East, Africa, or Eastern Europe, the familiar pattern of American military expansion goes something like this: first we are promised that US troops are merely in a country for limited "training" missions with "partner" forces; next we are told of "counter-terror" operations which require an increased "footprint"; after which we are assured once again that there are "no boots on the ground" but a "minimal" increase of train and assist missions; finally, US soldiers begin to come home in body bags at which point the 9/11 era AUMF is cynically invoked (Authorization For Use of Military Force).


Paul Kersey Juggernaut x2 Tue, 12/05/2017 - 22:30 Permalink

Wealth extracting war profiteers, and the banksters who invest in them, must continue to run up the national debt, put our uniformed young where they will kill or be killed, only to come home to commit suicide, as we are told to live by the neocon adage of "perpetual war for perpetual peace". The plutocrats know only too well how to control the human livestock and keep the herd thinned out, in debt or in a state of constant labor.

In reply to by Juggernaut x2

HushHushSweet cheka Wed, 12/06/2017 - 07:28 Permalink

EXACTLY. Bulldoze Syrians permanently off their land to make way for the Greater Israel project. Same thing happened in Iraq, with the American military being used as a proxy for the state of Israel. It works well for <<<the usual suspects>>> behind the machinations, as the Americans get all the blame and hostility from the people of the world while the real perpetrators of yet another in a long list of crimes against humanity remain relatively anonymous. Trump is clearly a puppet of <<<the usual suspects>>> and 100% on board with the Greater Israel project, even just judging by the fact that his very first statements as President were about the scourge of anti-Semitism and how great a friend Israel is to America. If you ever wonder whatever happened to all the gold in Fort Knox, you won't wonder any longer when you see the Third Temple being built in Jerusalem.

In reply to by cheka

veritas semper… Juggernaut x2 Wed, 12/06/2017 - 00:38 Permalink

"Where are the Trump ass-kissers like Bill of Rights and mnewn when stories like this are posted?" Polishing their kosher English?Between the banning of Russia from the Olympics(without ANY doubt ,a US doing,which ,by the way has triggered a strong reaction in the world under the hashtag "No Russia No Games",you should read the protests) and the announcement of recognizing Jerusalem as the zionist capital,the US/Donald f*ck ups today were really monumental,or shall we say ,beautifully biggly big,the best,the biggest.Did I say big?I have to say I am so disgusted by these two events ,I do not need any more proof of what MAGA really means=make IS RA EL big,the zionist banks,especially the Goldman guys,even bigger,make the MIIC colossal,make a waste of the rest of the world,and a mockery,again ,of the American stupid voters. Did this leave anything out? Yes it does.It leaves out America.

In reply to by Juggernaut x2

not dead yet Schmuck Raker Wed, 12/06/2017 - 01:01 Permalink

No one should be surprised by this nor should they be surprised when the US starts shipping in thousands more US troops. The writing was on the wall when Tillerson just a few weeks ago, when it looked like ISIS was a dead man walking, announced Assad must go. Assad may have regained most of his country and on the cusp of victory but the US hasn't given up the cause even though the terrorists it's been supporting are being destroyed. More death and destruction on the US agenda in Syria. The fat lady won't be singing anytime soon.

In reply to by Schmuck Raker