The United States plans to send more troops to Syria’s Manbij region to reinforce a contingent of about 2,000 soldiers already stationed there, CNN television reported citing several U.S. defence and administration officials.
A National Security Council meeting will be held on Tuesday to discuss the U.S. government’s plans for battling Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria and the presence of U.S. troops there, CNN said.
The plans for the deployment were first considered before President Donald Trump stated last week that the U.S. would be withdrawing from Syria “like very soon”, CNN reported. It was not clear how the president’s remarks, which puzzled many at the Pentagon, would affect the plans to send more forces to the country, it said.
The United States, which is allied with the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Syria against ISIS, is coming under pressure in the country after an incursion by NATO ally Turkey into Syria’s north and increased Russian and Iranian activities to secure territory from Syrian rebels seeking to dethrone President Bashar al Assad. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on the United States and its Kurdish allies to withdraw from Manbij or face a possible Turkish operation there. Turkey says the Kurds are affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an autonomy-seeking group in Turkey recognized as terrorists by the United States and European Union.
Trump had spoken as a U.S. and British soldier were killed in an IED explosion while on a classified mission to kill or capture a known ISIS member, CNN reported. The U.S. military is releasing few details about the mission that killed Master Sgt. Jonathan J. Dunbar and UK soldier Sgt. Matt Tonroe.