US special forces in northern Syria, near the town of Manbij. Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A US Marine force has been deployed to Syria to join the fight to oust ISIS from Raqqa, the Washington Post reported citing anonymous defense officials.
The Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marines ground force of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit was deployed to the country where they will establish an outpost and man artillery, including M777 Howitzers.
According to the Washington Post, the Marines will have to be based within about 32 kilometres (20 miles) of the frontlines as that is the maximum range of the M777 Howitzers.
The US currently has about 500 special forces in northern Syria carrying out advise and assist roles with their allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who are conducting a military operation to isolate Raqqa, ISIS’ self-declared capital in Syria.
At the request of US President Donald Trump, the Pentagon formulated options to reinvigorate efforts to defeat ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. The preferred plan for retaking the city of Raqqa is reportedly to increase US troops in Syria and provide more arms to the SDF.
On Monday, the SDF announced that they had severed the road between Raqqa and Deir ez-Zur to the east, cutting off a supply route for the extremist group and further isolating the militants in the city.