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As Trump Threatens Strike, US Troops Are Still Stationed In Syria

Trump wants them out, the military says they still have a mission to finish — here's what U.S. soldiers are doing in Syria.
Posted at 6:14 PM, Apr 12, 2018

President Donald Trump has been threatening to attack Syria in response to a suspected chemical weapons strike. When exactly he'll make good on that threat is still up in the air.

But something to keep in mind here is this: The U.S. has about 2,000 troops on the ground in Syria right now.

The majority of those forces are in the northeast part of the country, where the U.S. has set up a number of temporary bases.

The Syrian Democratic Forces controls this area, and the U.S. has partnered with it to fight ISIS. The SDF is dominated by Kurds, but also includes Arabs.

To put it simply, the U.S. troops are there to combat ISIS. Mostly, they serve in an "advise and assist" capacity, helping the SDF.

For the most part, U.S. troops have stayed away from the frontlines and instead help indirectly, using artillery or rockets.

So far, the biggest danger for U.S. troops in Syria has been improvised explosive devices. Two soldiers, one in November 2016 and one more recently in March, have died because of IEDs.

And while Trump has said he wants to get troops out "very soon" — the U.S. military is more cautious, saying troops will be there until ISIS is not only wiped out, but until they're sure the terror group won't return when the U.S. leaves.