‘US Marines in Syria: America wants to have part of the cake’
A spokesperson for the US-led coalition against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has confirmed additional American forces have been deployed in Syria.
The deployment of around 400 US Marines is in addition to the existing 500 US troops already in Syria and is aimed at accelerating the defeat of IS in its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa, according to the coalition spokesman US Air Force Colonel John Dorrian.
The US troops are said to be equipped with heavy artillery commonly used by marine and infantry units in combat missions. The weapons have a range of up to 30 kilometers and were widely employed in the Iraq and Afghan wars.
RT discussed with analysts the deployment and its importance.
According to political analyst Chris Bambery, “it’s very important”; and is an attempt to retake Raqqa, the ISIS stronghold in Syria.
“I think why we are seeing the American involvement is [because] they are keen to keep out the Syrian Army and the allies – the Iranians and Hezbollah. The Americans are keen the forces they back, the Syrian Democratic forces, the so-called Syrian rebels [are]...the people who have the honor of capturing Raqqa. And it will require the heavy weaponry those forces do not have. So, the Syrian Army has those weapons, so the Americans are now intervening to ensure that they and their allies get the honor of capturing Raqqa and not the Syrian Army,” he said.
Ali Rizk, expert on Middle East affairs, says the news didn’t come as a big surprise as the possibility of an escalation of the fighting against ISIS was referred to in the US media.
“This appears to be a part of a strategy to escalate the fight against ISIS as Donald Trump… had promised time and again,” he told RT.
In Rizk’s opinion, these latest developments do not point “to a complete departure from the Obama strategy."
“The Obama strategy also relied on the Syrian Democratic forces, Kurd, and Arab forces. This strategy also appears to rely on that but with an increased troop presence,” he explained.
Rizk argues that the US military presence in Syria might not stop at the latest deployment of marines.
“It might not stop here. It will possibly increase. The US, in the end, wants to have part of the cake. It wants to have leverage. And the only way you can have leverage on the ground is to have a considerable troop presence there,” Rizk said.
Political commentator Marwa Osman called the US troop deployment in Syria “a huge development.”
“That says that the US administration has a new strategy in fighting terrorism. And that strategy has to do directly with connections with the official Syrian government and with the Russian forces on the ground as well,” she said.
“There is no possible way that the deployment of US troops in Syria is not being coordinated with the Syrian Arab Army and the Syrian government and of course with the Russians being the intermediaries here. It is a huge development,” Osman said.
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