As ISIS loses ground in Syria, the US continues to deploy additional forces in the area. There is no expectation of the war so much ending as the US transitioning to a war against Syria and Iran for control over Syria, something some members of the National Security Council are openly advocating.
US strikes against Shi’ite militias, and against at least one Syrian bomber, are the first shots of this next war already having been fired. The Pentagon isn’t thrilled about this turn of events, but continued strikes suggest their objections are being ignored, at least for now.
America’s long-stated goal of regime change in Syria makes this transition something of an easy sell as part of the narrative, and hawks have been salivating at a shot at fighting Iran so long they’ll likely embrace anything Iran is involved in, much as they have wars like the Saudi War in Yemen, where Iran’s connection is largely a myth.
US forces are in Syria without permission, and nominally just to fight ISIS. The transition from that to a fight against Syria and Iran is as simple as just attacking a different bunch of people. The devil is in the details, however, and with Russia heavily backing Syria, the US may well struggle to successfully pick a fight with Syria and Iran without getting Russia in the deal too, making this a much bigger war than the US is prepared to fight.