US Ramping Up Firepower in Syria to Match Syria, Russia

US general says redeployment to east Syria required more power

Maj. Gen. Eric Hill, addressing the arrival of more armored vehicles at the US positions in eastern Syria, says it is part of the “resetting” of the US position further east, and required the US to have more “combat power here to sustain ourselves.”

Maj. Gen. Hill says that the goal is not simply to have power to match ISIS but “the militaries of the Syrian regime, the Russians, or even militias backed by fellow NATO partner Turkey.” The focus is on how everyone is carving up  territory in eastern Syria, which was once controlled by the US and its Kurdish allies.

The US clearly has problems with the territory being carved up, at the least to the extent that they’re not getting as much territory as they’d figured on. President Trump’s talk of taking the oil, and re-positioning the US troops at the oilfields show that if Syria is to be carved up, the US intends to take some key pieces.

Putting aside long-term US territorial ambitions in Syria, the indications are that the US intends to maintain a presence of less than 1,000 troops in Syria, and even with some tanks and an irresponsibly large number of Bradley Fighting Vehicles, it’s hard to imagine that the US really believes that, and air support, would truly match the militaries of Syria or Russia.

Though the Pentagon likes to brag about its ability to project power across the world, in Syria its ability to accomplish anything has historically hinged on getting the Kurds to do it for them. Though the deployment at the oilfields is no doubt capable of inflicting some casualties if control of the fields is challenged, it’s hard to imagine that the US believes it would truly hold this ground with a few hundred troops.

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.