America’s many wars are inconclusive, but at least they’re long and expensive. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
US forces plan to stay in Syria “as long as they need to” support local partners and to ensure that terrorists will not return, a Pentagon official told AFP on Tuesday. The announcement comes as the Islamic State has ceased to be a reality, and as the Syrian Army is on the cusp of final victory over ISIS in remaining pockets of eastern Syria.
“We are going to maintain our commitment on the ground as long as we need to, to support our partners and prevent the return of terrorist groups,” Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said. “To ensure an enduring defeat of ISIS, the coalition must ensure it cannot regenerate, reclaim lost ground, or plot external attacks.”
Though officials recently hinted that the Pentagon would soon formally acknowledge that it has “about 2,000” American troops in Syria, the long standing official number of 503 still hasn’t changed. In late October a top military official briefly admitted to 4,000 troops on the ground in Syria during an interview, but awkwardly backtracked on his statement and said, “I’m sorry, I misspoke there, there are approximately 500 troops in Syria.”
As we reported previously, President Trump has made a point of troop levels needing to be kept secret from “the enemy,” but consistent lies from the Pentagon about their deployments have made the figures less a closely guarded secret than a mockery of transparency.
Perhaps more worrisome is that Pahon further said US troop commitment in Syria would be “conditions-based” – which indicates that the Pentagon has no timeline or near-term plans for exiting Syria, though recent reports suggestthat after Raqqa was liberated by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) a troop withdrawal of hundreds of Marines may be in progress.
“This is essential to the protection of our homeland as well as to defend our allies and partners… The United States will sustain a ‘conditions-based’ military presence in Syria to combat the threat of a terrorist-led insurgency, prevent the resurgence of ISIS, and to stabilize liberated areas,” Pahon continued.
To continue reading: Pentagon: US Troops Will Stay In Syria “As Long As We Need To”