MILITARY

US commander signals larger, longer US presence in Syria

  • FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2016 file photo, U.S. Central Command Command Commander, U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Votel speaks to reporters at the Pentagon. Votel says he has completed an exhaustive review of the Yemen raid that killed a Navy SEAL, and he concluded there were no lapses in judgment or decision making surrounding the operation, and he sees no need for additional investigations.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

    FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2016 file photo, U.S. Central Command Command Commander, U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Votel speaks to reporters at the Pentagon. Votel says he has completed an exhaustive review of the Yemen raid that killed a Navy SEAL, and he concluded there were no lapses in judgment or decision making surrounding the operation, and he sees no need for additional investigations. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2016 file photo, U.S. Central Command Command Commander, U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Votel speaks to reporters at the Pentagon. Votel says he has completed an exhaustive review of the Yemen raid that killed a Navy SEAL, and he concluded there were no lapses in judgment or decision making surrounding the operation, and he sees no need for additional investigations.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

    FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2016 file photo, U.S. Central Command Command Commander, U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Votel speaks to reporters at the Pentagon. Votel says he has completed an exhaustive review of the Yemen raid that killed a Navy SEAL, and he concluded there were no lapses in judgment or decision making surrounding the operation, and he sees no need for additional investigations. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)  (The Associated Press)

The top U.S. commander in the Middle East is signaling that there will be a larger and longer American military presence in Syria to accelerate the fight against the Islamic State group and quell friction within the complicated mix of warring factions there.

Gen. Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command, tells senators that he will need more conventional U.S. forces to insure stability once the fight to defeat Islamic State militants in Raqqa is over. He says the U.S. military can't just leave once the fighting stops, because the Syrians need help ensuring a peaceful transition to local control.

Votel's comments come as a couple hundred Marines moved into Syria with large artillery guns to help the Raqqa fight, and another couple hundred Army Rangers went into northern Syria.