The U.S. won’t be sending any additional troops to Syria even though U.S. troops will perform additional tasks as part of an arrangement with Turkey to patrol a buffer zone along the Syrian-Turkish border, a zone designed to reduce tensions with Ankara, a top U.S. general said last week, CNN reported.
Defense officials had told CNN that the Pentagon had been weighing sending a small number of additional troops to Syria in order to conduct joint patrols with Turkey in the buffer zone but military officials are now saying that the new missions will be carried out by U.S. troops already in the country.
“We’re not going to increase our footprint on the ground to conduct these patrols because as we see it right now, this is directly linked to our defeat Daesh mission,” Brig. Gen. Scott Naumann, the director of operations for the U.S.-led military coalition fighting Daesh told reporters on a conference call Thursday.
“Ensuring the security and the stability in the security mechanism zone contributes directly to fighting Daesh and we have sufficient resources on the ground now,” Naumann added.
Naumann said, “We have around a thousand U.S. forces that are operating throughout Northeast Syria to execute our defeat Daesh and security mechanism zone missions.”
The U.S. and Turkey have been working to establish the buffer zone, which the U.S. calls a “security mechanism,” in northeast Syria as part of a bid to prevent a military incursion into the area that would target Syrian Kurdish groups allied with the U.S., a potential operation that the U.S. fears could undermine the fight against Daesh.