Big question..who the extra 250 US troops in Syria will train
The additional Special Forces the US will deploy in Syria are going to carry guns and engage in combat, says former Pentagon analyst Michael Maloof. The mission is potentially to train; but the question is what forces they will train, he adds.
The deployment of up to 250 Special Forces soldiers increases US forces in Syria six-fold and is aimed at helping militia fighters who have clawed back territory from Islamic State militants in a string of victories.
US President Barack Obama has confirmed plans to increase the US troop presence in Syria. He said the additional 250 personnel are intended to be deployed in the country, bringing the total to 300.
RT: The State Department said deploying troops is not the same as putting boots on the ground. What’s the difference then?
Michael Maloof: There is no difference. Boots are on the ground, and [John] Kirby is a former military guy, so he is going to try and make a distinction between actual combat troops of 20,000–30,000 as opposed to Special Forces. You talk to Special Forces guys – they are taking fire, they are boots on the ground, they are in a combat mode. Even Colonel Steve Warren from the Pentagon, who briefs the Pentagon once a week, said as much. So they are in a combat situation, they are boots on the ground. Which you have here is a mission creep and you have an administration, that doesn’t want to admit they would have to go to Congress ultimately to get permission to deal with ISIS. They have refused to that until now.
RT: The State Department says the troops will have an advise-and-assist mission. Will they stick to their remit, do you think?
MM: They are going to carry guns. They are going to be firing; they are going to be shot at. We’ve heard of people already, who have been killed in Iraq – especially who were advising and insisting – they got involved in the fray and they have been killed. We had to bring back the bodies. So they do engage in combat, they are armed. The mission potentially is to train, but the question is: who are you going to train? What forces are you going to train? You going to train these opposition groups? That is one of the big questions that are lingering here.
President Barack Obama announced Monday an additional 250 special operations forces will be sent to Syria in the coming weeks in a speech in Hannover, Germany, in an effort to stem the influence and spread of ISIS.
“Just as I approved additional support for Iraqi forces against ISIL, I’ve decided to increase U.S. support for local forces fighting ISIL in Syria, a small number of special operations forces are already on the ground in Syria and their expertise has been critical as local forces have driven ISIL out of key areas,” Obama said, using another acronym for the jihadist group.
“So given their success I’ve approved the deployment of up to 250 additional U.S. personnel in Syria including special forces to keep up this momentum,” he said.
The troops will be expanding the ongoing U.S. effort to bring more Syrian Arab fighters into units the U.S. supports in northern Syria that have largely been manned by the Kurds, an official told CNN earlier.
The plan calls for the additional U.S. forces to “advise and assist” forces in the area whom the U.S. hopes may eventually grow strong enough to take back territory around Raqqa, Syria, where ISIS is based.
These troops are not expected to engage in combat operations or to participate in target-to-kill teams but will be armed to defend themselves, one official said.
“I’ve decided to increase U.S. support for local forces fighting ISIL in Syria”
who are they?..the syrian army?..isnt that who you should be supporting?..why cant you name who you are helping?
“a small number of special operations forces are already on the ground in Syria and their expertise has been critical as local forces have driven ISIL out of key areas,”
really?..not the russians?..just “local forces”..