Pentagon Admits to Four Times as Many US Troops in Syria

New Official Figure Is 2,000, Still Just an 'Estimate'

How many US ground troops are in Syria? Officially, in late November, the Pentagon figure was 502, and while that was a spurious number, the Pentagon announced over 400 US Marines were withdrawn at the end of the month.

Now that it’s the first week of December, that official figure has shot up to 2,000, even though no new troops were deployed, and indeed over 400 had just left. The Pentagon has said in recent days that the troops are staying in Syria, with no timetable for ending the deployment.

Col. Robert Manning says the 2,000 troops is just an approximation, in keeping with President Trump’s policy of not making troop levels a matter of public record. Needless to say, it’s expected this 2,000 level is closer to true than the 502.

The most recent quarterly report from the Defense Manpower Data Center, which is unique in that it is believed to be actually true, put 1,720 US troops in Syria as of September. It’s unknown if there were more deployments since then, though there was that fairly sizeable withdrawal at the end of November.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.