In preparation of the fight to push ISIL out of its Raqqa headquarters, a couple of hundred Marines have been deployed.
A Pentagon spokesman has confirmed that a couple hundred Marines have deployed into Syria with heavy artillery guns. They are part of the ongoing preparation for the fight to push ISIL out of its self-declared headquarters of Raqqa
Marines in Syria:
On Wednesday, on condition of anonymity a US official said that the Marines are pre-positioning howitzers to be ready to assist local Syrian forces
Despite being a temporary deployment, it could indicate that the White House is giving the Pentagon greater flexibility to make routine combat decisions in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS).
Under the previous administration, Military commanders were frustrated by what they considered micromanagement. They have argued for more freedom on making routine decisions on how best to fight the enemy
Officials also said that the US is preparing to send up to 1,000 troops to Kuwait to be ready to join the ISIL fight if they are needed.
This move will provide on the ground flexibility to US commanders to quickly respond to unforeseen opportunities and challenges on the battlefield.
This troop movement came right after another recent temporary deployment of some dozens of army forces to the outskirts of Manbij, Syria, named a “reassure and deter” mission by the Pentagon.
The Pentagon stated that the troops, with the flying American flags and moving in large, heavily armored vehicles, were there to keep control tensions in the area.
The military can have up to 503 US forces in Syria, according to the existing limits put in place by the Obama administration, however, the temporary personnel aren’t included in the cap.
Late last month, Pentagon leaders sent to the White House a new plan to defeat ISIL. The plan’s consisted of a strategy that would probably increase the number of US troops in to better advise and assist the US-backed Syrian fighters who will go through the battle for Raqqa.
A series of options for the Syria fight were mapped out by the military. It included increasing artillery support, more Apache helicopters and a stronger training campaign.
Taking Iraq as a model:
Iraq, Syria’s neighbor, is battling a fierce battle to retake the northern city of Mosul from ISIL, the battle for Raqqa will look like it, according to US officials.
The US set up bases outside the city, while troops were preparing to move into Mosul, to use as logistical hubs and as locations for heavy artillery.
The moves to pre-position US troops closer to the fight, so they can be deployed as needed, are the kinds of decisions that are needed to be able to make more quickly, according to military commanders, without having to go to the White House every time for approval.