US President Barack Obama ordered to send 3,000 special forces for an operation at the Syrian city of Raqqa, the Sky News Arabia TV channel reported, citing the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, Brett McGurk.
McGurk noted that ater the liberation of Manbij which is considered the main transport hub of ISIS, the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa will become the next target. He also added that Barack Obama has ordered to deploy “3,000 Special Forces soldiers for this purpose.”
Recall that at the beginning of the operation, the US president has agreed to provide only 350 Special Forces soldiers in addition to the 150 others that had already arrived at the place before in order to support the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (indeed, the Kurdish YPG with some Arab units).
Two months ago the Pentagon was speaking about the imminent defeat of ISIS, and underlining the fact that Americans will only train and advise the Syrian Democratic Forces. At that time, we already questioned these assertions because 500 advisers are too much, the Syrian Democratic Forces just do not have such a number of fighters that need to be trained. It is clear that since that moment, the US has been getting involved into a ground operation against ISIS.
The deployment of 3,000 US tropps for Raqqa operations will bring the US military groupping’s strength on the ground to the composition of a fully fledged army brigade. This number does not include British and German instructors who are really trying to train new SDF fighters.
Let’s recall the main stages of the operation.
- At the beginning, the SDF suppoted by the coalition aircraft moved pretty quickly to the outskirts of Raqqa, but then they turned around and launched the storm of Manbij in Aleppo province. In addition to purely military reasons, this maneuver showed us the struggle between Washington and Ankara that argued that only Arab unts of the SDF have to take part in the Raqqa operation.
- Then, the US and the SDF stuck under Manbij. Furthermore, a fighting between the Kurds and the Arabs has started inside of the SDF. The Kurds blamed the Arabs for cooperation with ISIS supporters (for example, Arab SDF units allegedly allowed ISIS suicide bombers to enter into the rear area of the Kurdish troops). The fighting with heavy weapons lasted for three days.
- In this situation, the command of the US-led international coalition decided to use the air power in order to provoke a mass exodus of the Sunnis from Manbij and its surroundings. The French Air Force attacked the inhabited localities around Manbij, killing up to 200 civilians. But the mass exodus did not start.
- Meanwhile, the US faced the fact that SDF Arab forces and local Sunnis are unanimous in their desire to prevent the Kurdish rule in the region. This has not left any field for maneuver, and US troops were forced to engage in offensive operations. In general, the brigade that they have concentrated in Syria now, is needed for this purpose.
As we predicted the main problem of the US in Syria is the a of loyal forces on the ground. Washington cannot solve the problem of taking Raqqa by the Kurdish and Arab forces, and the US presidential election campaign puses the Obama adinistration to act roughly. It is crucial for Barack Obama to gain political revenue from the operation against ISIS. And for this the US has to seize Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq.
Will the increasement of US military presence in the offensive operations on Manbij and Raqqa allow to do this? It is a question.