WASHINGTON — The Pentagon says there are about 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria. That is four times as many as officials had publicly acknowledged as recently as last month.
The new total does not mean additional troops have been deploying to Syria. It's merely a long-delayed confirmation that the troop numbers the Pentagon had been citing were inaccurate. In fact, the Pentagon spokesman who announced the new number, Army Col. Rob Manning, said Wednesday that troop numbers are now declining in Syria.
Manning also said there are about 5,200 U.S. troops in Iraq. That number also is trending downward, he said, as the U.S.-led coalition in both Iraq and Syria transition from supporting offensive combat operations against Islamic State fighters to supporting local security efforts to prevent a reemergence of IS.