Pentagon: US committed to Syria until ISIS areas stabilized

Pentagon: US committed to Syria until ISIS areas stabilized

Pentagon: US committed to Syria until ISIS areas stabilized

That number reflects the official 5,262 "force management level" previously reported by the Pentagon.

The Pentagon declined to say why it took three months longer to disclose more accurate troop counts for Iraq and Syria than Afghanistan.

Despite recent ISIS setbacks, the Pentagon said Tuesday that the USA military mission in Syria would continue until areas reclaimed from ISIS are stabilized, adding that United States troops would only withdraw when "conditions" on the ground allowed.

USA troops are known to be training and providing support to the Arab-Kurdish fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces, who have been battling the Islamic State group in northern and eastern Syria.

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Figures released by Defense Manpower Data Center in November, which tracks counts of Pentagon military and civilian personnel deployed overseas each quarter, showed almost 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria and more than 9,000 in Iraq.

Military officials said that the 2,000 personnel in Syria represented something of a high-water mark as the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria winds down.

The Pentagon first announced plans to revise the number on August 31, when they unveiled a higher troop count in Afghanistan.

ISIS has lost about 97 percent of the land it once controlled across Syria and Iraq, Manning said Wednesday, but small pockets of fighters remain in both countries.

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"It's approximately 2,000 now, could be more, could be less, we don't want to showcase our capabilities to the enemy", Manning said at the Pentagon.

In his statement Tuesday, Pahon criticized Russian Federation and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as impediments to stabilizing the situation there, saying that countering ISIS, al Qaeda and other terrorist groups is not of the "foremost priority" of Russian Federation and Syria.

"The secretary has been clear about improving our public reporting while increasing commanders' ability to adapt to changing battlefield conditions to counter emerging threats", the colonel said.

"We will be in Syria as long as it takes to make sure ISIS does not have the ability to reestablish safe havens... and plan and conduct attacks", said Manning, including that the 78-member USA -led anti-ISIS coalition is committed to the effort.

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Repeating previous statements from defense officials, Manning said that the U.S.is taking a "conditions-based" approach to the conflict against ISIS in Syria and is working with local partner forces to restore basic utilities and stand up local governments and police forces. "That's local forces. That's people who make certain that ISIS doesn't come back", Mattis said, highlighting the USA desire to shift its focus to local forces providing stability. "Nor do they appear to be serious about the withdrawal of Iranian-backed militias", said Manning.

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