More than 400 US Marines and their artillery are leaving Syria after helping to capture the city of Raqqa from Daesh, the US-led coalition fighting the militant group announced today.
Last month, US-backed militias declared victory in Raqqa, Daesh’s former headquarters in Syria, after months of fighting with the help of the US-led coalition.
“With the city liberated and ISIS on the run, the unit has been ordered home. Its replacements have been called off,” the coalition said in a statement, using another acronym for Daesh.
“We’re drawing down combat forces where it makes sense, but still continuing our efforts to help Syrian and Iraqi partners maintain security,” Brigadier General Jonathan Braga, the director of operations for the coalition, said in the statement.
“Our remaining forces will continue to work by, with, and through partner forces to defeat remaining ISIS, prevent a re-emergence of ISIS, and set conditions for international governments and NGOs to help local citizens recover from the horrors of ISIS’ short-lived rule,” he said.
Officially, the Pentagon says there are 503 troops in Syria. However, as of last week, US officials said there were closer to 2,000 US troops in the country. The latest announcement would reduce that number.
As that campaign against Daesh winds down, it is unclear how many, if any, US troops will remain in Syria.
Most of them are special operations forces, working to train and advise local partner forces, including providing artillery support against Daesh militants.
Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, said it was already preparing to withdraw its military contingent from Syria, Russian news agencies reported.