US Bolsters Protection of Ground Troops in Syria as Tensions Rise

Growing Concerns Last Week's Strikes Could Fuel Retaliation

Last week’s US missile strikes against Syria have been something of a game-changer in US policy across the region. Nowhere is the concern greater than among the US ground troops stationed in Syria, however, as if the strikes ultimately provoke a retaliation, they’re in the line of fire.

While they’re not offering details on exactly what they’re doing, US officials have confirmed that they have made adjustments since the attacks, seeking to increase the protection of US forces in Syria in case they do come under attack in the course of their operations.

The ground troops are deployed in Syria overwhelming in anti-ISIS operations, and this is the second time in as many days officials have confirmed anti-ISIS operations were changed because of last week’s attack, after confirming yesterday they’d cut back on airstrikes against ISIS for fear of coming under attack from Syrian air defense.

At this point, retaliation appears unlikely unless the US launches further attacks, with Russia making it clear that any future attacks are a “red line” for them. US officials continue to talk up potential justifications for such strikes, however, which might mean they’re hoping they can call Russia’s bluff, assuming it is a bluff.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of