(December 10)Manama - US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that another 200 troops will go to Syria in order to aid an offensive by Kurdish and Arab fighters, the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), to free the city of Raqqa a stronghold of the Islamic State(IS) in Syria.
|Speaking in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, Carter said: "I can tell you today that the United States will deploy approximately 200 additional US forces in Syria." There already are 300 US special forces operating in Syria backing the SDF troops. The offensive began in recent weeks and is taking place at the same time as an offensive against the IS-held city of Mosul in Syria. These two cities are the last two urban centers held by the IS after the Libyan city of Sirte fell to Libyan forces just recently. Their other Libyan stronghold of Derna was won by rival Islamist groups earlier this year. Carter said that bomb disposal experts, and trainers, will be included with the special forces. The IS have used car bombs, booby traps, and mines as well as snipers as they have put up fierce resistance when attacked in what they term is their caliphate. The US has used extensive airstrikes to help the advancing SDF forces. Carter said: “By combining our capabilities with those of our local partners, we’ve been squeezing Isis by applying simultaneous pressure from all sides and across domains, through a series of deliberate actions to continue to build momentum."|
"Leaders of the terrorist group can no longer travel between Raqqa and Mosul without the risk of either being struck from the air or hunted down by the coalition’s Expeditionary Targeting Force. In fact, since we began accelerating our campaign last year, we’ve killed the majority of ISIL’s most senior leaders.”
“I know people are tired of these meetings. I’m tired of these meetings. And people are sort of: ‘Oh, another meeting. OK. This one will end the same way the other one did.’ I get it, folks... But what am I supposed to do? Go home and have a nice weekend in Massachusetts while people are dying? Sit there in Washington and do nothing? That’s not the way you do business.”With the Assad regime appearing near victory in Aleppo, negotiations may be difficult. The UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said that even if Assad takes all of Aleppo the war will not end. He said a serious discussion about the political future of Syria was the only way to peace.