A number of American officials have confirmed that US troops will remain in northeastern Syria indefinitely in order to fight ISIS and support local forces in their fight against the terrorist group.
According to Defense One: “Senior US military officials describe what’s left of the group as a low-level insurgency that has more in common with a criminal gang than the transnational terrorist group that once controlled territory the size of Britain.”
“But that doesn’t necessarily mean US troops are coming home any time soon.”
Sometimes, US troops on patrol still have rocks and fruit thrown at them. But it’s hard to know how much of that is a political statement and how much of it is just bored kids doing what bored kids do in country towns all over the world.
Lt. Gen. Paul Calvert, who commands the US-led counter-ISIS mission in Iraq and Syria, said the group is still able to establish training camps and other infrastructure inside the Badia Desert, where the United States doesn’t operate, and is still capable of carrying out the occasional high-profile attack.
“I think their ability to reemerge is extremely low right now, but the potential is always there, because they don't have a lot of pressure put on them” in the Badia Desert, Calvert said.
Military officials insist that their sole mission in Syria is the enduring defeat of ISIS.
US advisers and funds are carrying out a host of jobs geared at promoting local stability and preventing the group’s resurgence, including helping shore up makeshift SDF-run prisons holding thousands of ISIS fighters.
They are also grappling with the humanitarian and security crisis brewing inside the sprawling al-Hol camp that holds 65,000 ISIS wives and children.
“The more we can support the SDF in getting after ISIS, the less they feel vulnerable or distracted by the actions of either the regime, the Russians, or the Turks to the north, to make sure that they can still keep on looking after the detainees and al-Hol, because they've only got finite forces to do all this,” said British Army Maj. Gen. Kevin Copsey, the deputy commander for strategy in the counter-ISIS mission.