US President Barack Obama will send additional US military personnel into Syria. In what is expected to be a wide-ranging speech in Germany this week, the White House has confirmed the US presence to Syria will be boosted to 300. The move signifies a renewed commitment to the continued war against ISIS.
President Obama, who has been overseas in a farewell tour to Europe and the Middle East, has thus far been reluctant to send US troops to fight ISIS directly. The increase of an additional 250 troops is a significant step forward in the front against ISIS, whereby US involvement has waned at the expense of the Syrian nation, and general American presence in the region. Obama has resisted deploying a large amount of American troops, but had initially sent up to 50 US special forces operation personnel to Syria last year. In contrast, the US’s direct foreign rival in the region, Russia, has done the exact opposite by launching a series of devastating airstrikes in the besieged nation.
This new move by the US comes as the United Nations special envoy for Syria has estimated that 400,000 people have been killed throughout the last five years of the civil war.
The war against ISIS–and the civil war in general–has become increasingly violent, with no hope for a peaceful resolution in sight. In a sign of the bleak reality faced by the region, according to Al-Jazeera,
“the UN no longer keeps track of the death toll due to the inaccessibility of many areas and the complications of navigating conflicting statistics put forward by the Syrian government and armed opposition groups.”
Failed peace talks have recently ended, and this paired with the explosion of refugees from Syria, has made the civil war seem less likely to end anytime soon.
The increase in US troops begs the following question: is the west losing the war against ISIS?
While Russian airstrikes helped in the operation to take back the ancient city of Palmyra from ISIS, Syrian troops and local militia regained control of the city, in what was seen as a major victory against ISIS. However, the US and its allies in Syria were not involved in the retaking of the city. Thus, the increase in US troops could be a response to the effectiveness of Russian airstrikes against ISIS. Russia has also been accused of using its airstrikes against rebel forces who are seeking to overthrow the Syrian government.
Such a large increase in American troops will inevitably evolve the conflict. Nonetheless, all fronts must know that only peaceful and democratic solutions to the stalemate in Syria should be sought. Failing to achieve this end, thousands more will be killed, injured or displaced.
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