WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2016 — The United States will deploy approximately 200 additional
forces to combat Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant forces in Syria, Defense Secretary
Ash Carter said during his speech today at the Manama Dialogue in Bahrain.
The additional U.S. troops, which will include special operations forces, trainers, advisors and
explosive ordnance disposal teams, will assist in coalition efforts to eject ISIL from Raqqa,
the terrorist group’s self-styled capital in Syria, the secretary said.
“These uniquely skilled operators will join the 300 U.S. special operations forces already in
Syria, to continue organizing, training, equipping and otherwise enabling capable, motivated,
local forces to take the fight to ISIL, and also bringing down to bear the full weight of U.S.
forces around the theater of operations like the funnel of a giant tornado,” Carter said. “This
latest commitment of additional forces within Syria is another important step in enabling our
partners to deal ISIL a lasting defeat.”
Carter said the Middle East region is home to a strong U.S. military posture comprising more
than 58,000 American personnel ashore and afloat — including more than 5,000 on the ground
in Iraq and Syria — along with air, ground, maritime and ballistic missile defense assets.
These forces, he said, are not only countering terrorists like ISIL and al-Qaida; they are
deterring aggression and protecting U.S. interests and allies.
The U.S. has reached a critical milestone in the counter-ISIL coalition’s military campaign
plan, the secretary said.