On November 30, the US-led coalition announced in an official statement that the 1st Battalion of the US Marine 10th Regiment has been ordered to withdraw from Syria. The 1st battalion includes 400 US marines armed with M777 howitzers. It was first to deploy in Syria on September 15 to support the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) advance on the city of Raqqa, according to the US-led coalition statement.
The US-led coalition director of operations Brigade General Jonathan Braga said in the statement that the withdrawal of the US Marines “is a sign of real progress in the region”. However, Brig. Gen. Braga stressed that the US-led coalition will continue supporting its “partners” even after the defeat of ISIS.
“We’re drawing down combat forces where it makes sense, but still continuing our efforts to help Syrian and Iraqi partners maintain security. 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,” Brig. Gen. Braga said according to the US-led coalition statement.
The US Department of Defense (DOD) revealed in a report last week that there are 1,720 US troops in Syria. US Army officials had claimed before that there were only 500 US troops in Syria.
The US-led coalition will withdraw even more of its troops from Syria once ISIS is defeated. However, the coalition will likely leave some units of the US Special Operation Forces to keep pressuring the Damascus government and Russia.
The chairman of Russia’s Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security Viktor Bondarev said on November 29, that the US plans on staying in Syria after the collapse of ISIS and establish a new local governance, apart from the al-Assad government, in northern Syria according to the Washington Post newspaper. Bondarev’s forecast will likely become a reality in the upcoming months.