US Sends Marines to Support Raqqa Assault

تم نشره في Thu 9 March / Mar 2017. 01:00 AM
  • US forces in Raqqa - (Archives)

The US has sent 400 additional troops to Syria to support an allied local force aiming to capture the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, aka Daesh.

They include Marines, who arrived in the past few days to set up an outpost from which they will be able to fire artillery at ISIS positions in the city.

Several hundred US Special Forces soldiers are already deployed, advising Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

Coalition air strikes reportedly killed 20 civilians near Raqqa on Thursday.

Several children were among the dead in the ISIS-held village of Matab, activists say.

The alliance is expected to launch an assault on Raqqa in the coming weeks.

Defence officials told the Washington Post that the Marine artillery unit would have M777 howitzers, which can fire 155mm shells about 32km (20 miles).

A spokesman for the US-led coalition against ISISISIS, Col John Dorrian, told Reuters news agency they would help "expedite the defeat" of ISIS in Raqqa.

Over the weekend, a separate force of elite US Army Rangers was also deployed near a town north-west of Raqqa in heavily-armoured Stryker vehicles, in an attempt to end clashes between SDF fighters and a Turkish-backed rebel force.