March 9, 2017 / 10:48 AM / 3 years ago

U.S.-led coalition confirms Marines deploy to Syria

BEIRUT, March 9 (Reuters) - The U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State confirmed on Thursday the deployment of additional U.S. forces to Syria to accelerate the defeat of Islamic State in its Syrian base of operations at Raqqa city.

Coalition spokesman U.S. Air Force Colonel John Dorrian said the additional forces would be working with local partners in Syria - the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Syrian Arab Coalition - and would not have a frontline role.

The SDF includes the Kurdish YPG militia.

The additional forces that had arrived in “the last few days” comprised a Marines artillery unit and Army Rangers.

“We are talking about an additional 400 or so forces in total, and they will be there for a temporary period,” Dorrian said by telephone. The deployment was on top of an existing 500 U.S. forces already in Syria, he said. (Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Dominic Evans)

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