The Pentagon is sending an additional 200 troops to the Northern Syrian city, and self-proclaimed capital of ISIS, Raqqa. This additional deployment will bring the total number of American troops in Syria to 500, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Saturday.
Carter stated that these additional 200 troops will focus on training and advising local forces focuses that are comprised of up to 45,000 men in total on retaking the city. Many of the 200 American troops will be special operations troops, explosive ordnance disposal specialists and military advisers. Carter stated while in Bahrain:
“These uniquely skilled operators will … continue organizing, training, equipping, and otherwise enabling capable, motivated, local forces to take the fight to [ISIS] 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.”
U.S. officials claim that there is a new sense of urgency to retake the city as they believe terrorists residing in the city are currently planning terror attacks for the U.S. and its allies. The U.S. and its allies in Syria have also announced that they will be launching the second phase of their plan to retake Raqqa.
The U.S. coalition is focused on limiting the terrorist group’s movement and crippling its resupply and financial commodities. Carter announced that 170 trunks possessing $2 million in oil were destroyed in a single airstrike on Thursday. Other airstrikes that day destroyed militant weapons caches, supply routes, and terrorist strongholds in the village of Ayn Isa.