WASHINGTON – The Pentagon says U.S. troops are playing a new role in Syria, in addition to advising local Arab and Kurdish fighters in their battle against Islamic State militants.
A spokesman, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, said a small number of U.S. troops have taken up positions just west of the northern city of Manbij with the declared mission of deterring violence between Turkish, Russian and other forces that have converged there. He said the Americans also are there to reassure Turkey that Manbij is under the control of a predominantly Arab force called the Manbij Military Council, and that no IS fighters are present.
Davis said this is a new mission for the U.S., but that it falls within authorities held by U.S. commanders since before President Donald Trump took office.