More than 400 Marines are returning home and their replacements have been called off after providing artillery support that destroyed ISIS and helped recapture the city of Raqqa, Syria.
“With a 155 mm artillery battery in the fight, their mission was to deny and disrupt ISIS from gaining ground or moving from their defensive positions,” Marine Lt. Col. Jon O’Gorman, chief of fires for Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, said in a news release. “These Marines rained relentless and highly accurate firepower on the enemy.”
The 1st Battalion, 10th Marines arrived in Syria in September to replace a previous unit that was supporting Coalition partner forces in the fight to take back Raqqa from ISIS. Raqqa was officially liberated on Oct. 20.
When the offensive began, more than 2,500 terrorists were in Raqqa.
“The departure of these outstanding Marines is a sign of real progress in the region,” Brig. Gen. Jonathan Braga said in a statement. “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 NGO’s to help local citizens recover from the horrors of ISIS’ short-lived rule.”
Last month, it was reported that Marine artillery fire in Raqqa was so intense that the barrels on two of the Howitzers burned out, making them unsafe to use.