The Department of Defense acknowledged on Wednesday that the United States has approximately 2,000 soldiers in Syria, four times more than officials had claimed a month ago.
The number does not represent an increase in troop levels in the country. country, said a Pentagon spokesman, but instead reflects a more accurate count. The US military had recently said that the official count of troops in Syria was 503.
Army Colonel Rob Manning told reporters that the number of troops is actually "descending" in Syria, with the recent departure of 400 artillery marines. Those forces left the country after helping local forces to recover the Islamic State in Iraq and the former de facto capital of Syria, Raqqa.
Manning did not say whether the 400 Marines were part of the new figure of 2,000 soldiers.
"It's about 2,000 now, it could be more, it could be less, we do not want to show our capabilities to the enemy," Manning told the Pentagon.
The current count of official troops under a known accounting system since the level of force management does not always reflect the commitment of EE. UU on the ground with precision, since commanders incorporate temporary forces or hire more contractors.
Pentagon officials in August, for example, acknowledged that there are approximately 11,000 US troops currently serving in Afghanistan: well above the 8,400 forces previously reported. That number is now closer to 14,000 after the Pentagon sent approximately 3,000 additional US troops to help end the 16-year conflict in Afghanistan.
Manning also said on Wednesday that there are around 5,200 US troops in Iraq, a number that remains unchanged. from previous reports, but said that it is also being reduced.
Officials said the number of forces is decreasing in Syria and Iraq as operations move away from combat and more to train and advise, clear explosives, rebuild and maintain security and prevent ISIS will not return.