While US officials continue to present their forces inside Syria as “non-combat” forces in the country purely to “advise and assist,” they are now confirming that some of the special forces have entered the ISIS capital city of Raqqa, and are close to the front lines in the city’s invasion.
The US has been helping the Kurdish YPG plan the invasion for months, and had artillery forces positioned around the outskirts of Raqqa. Putting troops physically within a city with an estimated 2,500 ISIS fighters, however, more or less guarantees they’ll be involved in ground combat.
Officials were quick to insist that the special forces in Raqqa are “not kicking down doors,” but are positioned in the city primarily to advise Kurdish fighters in how to kick those doors down, though they obviously are armed and ready to fight.
Kurdish forces announced the beginning of the invasion on Tuesday, entering through the city’s gates. The US troops apparently followed them in shortly thereafter, though so far there is no indication they have been directly involved in the fighting. Given how long Raqqa’s invasion is likely to take, fighting seems all but inevitable.