Pentagon May Recommend Deploying US Ground Troops to Syria

Trump Seeks Recommendations by Month's End

by Jason Ditz, February 15, 2017

With President Trump seeking his Pentagon recommendations by the end of the month, officials are reportedly seriously considering a proposal which would see a large deployment of US combat troops into Syria to fight against ISIS forces.

Officials note that any such proposal would still be dependent on President Trump signing off on it, though it does appear in keeping with his interest to escalate the fight against ISIS, and is also in keeping with comments by Defense Secretary James Mattis, who is said to be handling the recommendation process, who had talked of an “accelerated” ground campaign in Syria.

With US officials also discussing a cooperative effort with Turkey in fighting ISIS in Raqqa, a large US deployment would probably be an obvious next step, as Turkey has repeatedly ruled out working with the Kurdish troops the small US contingent in Syria is currently embedded within.

It is unclear how large of a force they are envisioning for this recommendation at this point, but any deployment is likely to risk increased tensions with Syria, and by extension Russia, if it comes without some direct coordination with those two nations. Syria has long objected to unilateral US deployments as a threat to their sovereignty, but has tentatively welcomed them as a partner against ISIS in a cooperative manner.

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