Defense officials have acknowledged that a security force of armed troops – possibly infantry – would be needed to help carry out withdrawal of US forces over time. The extra troops that have moved in are needed to provide security for troops and equipment as they move out with soil and air, and additional security is provided on the ground as the number of US forces falls, officials said.
The officials said the extra security forces could move around Syria to different places as needed and could move in and out of the country at times.
They would not indicate whether troops were taken or taken in the near future with reference to security concerns.
The number of US troops routinely deployed in Syria to fight ISIS and assist local forces has hovered between 2,000 and 2,500 in recent months in northern, eastern and southern Syria. All the current missions continue the official said. But with the new staff moving in and out of Syria, and the existing forces expected to retire, the total number will now fluctuate.
The Pentagon is not expected to publicly discuss new information on the number of forces on the ground in Syria due to security issues, one of the defense ministers said. These concerns are focused on the threat posed by ISIS, the Syrian government forces and the Iranian backed militias, the official said.
The news comes after ISIS claimed responsibility for a deadly explosion that killed four Americans and at least 1
US deaths included two US services members, defense lawyer and civilian civilian, US Central Command said in a statement. Three other US service members were injured in the attack.
The attack came less than a month after Trump announced that US troops would withdraw from Syria. In his announcement, Trump published in a video published on Twitter: "We have won against ISIS. We have beaten them and we have beaten them badly. We have taken the earth back and now is the time for our troops to get back to home. "
After the attack, two US officials told CNN that there are no current plans to reverse Trump's decision to begin withdrawing US troops from Syria.
The President continues to believe that it is time for US troops to return home, officials said. Specific retirement plans remain contingent upon on-site events, including the strength of ISIS, but also security guarantees for the Kurds.
In recent weeks, senior US officials, including State Secretary Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, have refused to commit to a timeline for the troop's withdrawal.