Five Kurdish Militants Killed Fighting ISIS in Northern Syria

At the same time, the Syrian leader praised the role of Iran in his country's civil war, saying that "they support Syria in fighting terrorists, they support Syria politically".

That's because, according to Assad, "this is their policy, and this is their behavior".

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, a retired United States Marine Corps General who served as the 11th Commander of the United States Central Command and has experience in the Middle East, Northeast Africa, and Central Asia, said during his confirmation hearing that the campaign to retake Raqqa should be accelerated.

The deployment, if approved by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and President Trump, would potentially double the number of US forces in Syria and increase the potential for direct USA combat involvement in a conflict that has been characterized by confusion and competing priorities among disparate forces. "Let's talk about the reality, about the facts: since the Russians started their raids against ISIS in cooperation with the Syrian Army - of course, after we asked them to come and support us in our fight against the terrorists - ISIS has been shrinking". There are now approximately 500 US Special Operations forces, 250 Rangers, and 200 Marines in Syria.

While no official foreign invasion has been announced, there have been recent increases in the amount of foreign troops being deployed in Syria, particularly from the U.S. To fight ISIS [Islamic State, formerly ISIL]? The gunners from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit will provide fire support for US -backed Syrian forces who are preparing to assault Raqqa under cover of USA -led airstrikes. However the move could lead to direct combat by U.S. troops.

Turkey has also said it will send ground forces to help seize Raqqa, but that option is complicated by Turkish insistence that its participation depends on the United States severing ties with Syrian Kurdish fighters, called the People's Protection Units, or YPG.

  • Leroy Wright