The United States has made recent progress in the Middle East against ISIS that has been heralded by the Trump administration and his supporters. The Islamic caliphate, once on the rise and seemingly unstoppable, now has barely any fighters left fighting for it in Iraq and Syria. Despite this progress, the U.S. has made it clear they will not be leaving the region anytime soon.
The Pentagon has even said that they got it wrong on their troop total estimate last month, as there are now four times the troops remaining in Syria than they initially predicted.
“It’s approximately 2,000 now, could be more, could be less, we don’t want to showcase our capabilities to the enemy,” Army Col. Rob Manning said at the Pentagon.
In late November, the Pentagon estimated that there were 502 troops remaining in Syria. Despite 400 marines being removed from Syria at the end of November, the estimate has skyrocketed up to around 2,000. The Pentagon is either keeping Americans in the dark, or have a poor handle on their personnel overseas.
“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 said in a statement released by anti-ISIS coalition forces.
“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.
There are currently 5,200 U.S. troops remaining in Iraq as well. Manning said that the troop totals in Iraq and Syria are both “trending downward” but considering the track record of the Pentagon when it comes to honesty, his words cannot be believed until the troops actually return home for good.