Pentagon admits USA has 2000 troops in Syria

Putin says IS suffers 'complete defeat' in eastern Syria

Pentagon admits USA has 2000 troops in Syria

Secretary of Defense James Mattis told reporters Friday that the USA military mission in Syria was being reconfigured to better support diplomatic objectives, including the UN-led Geneva process aimed at bringing an end to the Syrian Civil War.

Prominent British militants such as Mohammed Emwazi, known as Jihadi John, and Sally Jones, have been reportedly killed by British or US forces since travelling to fight for Islamic State. As part of that effort, the Pentagon announced in August it had about 3,000 more troops in Afghanistan than acknowledged under then-President Barack Obama.

Manning claimed that the Iraqi Army and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have liberated about 97 percent "of the people and land" previously controlled by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in Iraq and Syria respectively.

The US military has increased the number of troops in Syria from 500 to 2,000, the Pentagon says, adding that the "conditions-based" military presence is justified by the need to "stabilize" liberated areas. Manning said the delay was in an effort to "get it right".

"We seek to balance informing the American public with the imperative of operational security and denying the enemy any advantage", he said.

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ISIL's self-proclaimed caliphate has crumbled this year in Syria and Iraq, with the group losing the cities of Mosul, Raqqa and swathes of other territory.

At least 800 people have left the United Kingdom to join ISIS in Iraq or Syria.

Russia's military said on Thursday it had accomplished its mission of defeating Islamic State in Syria, and today there are no remaining settlements in the country under Islamic State control.

"Important work remains to ensure lasting defeat" of ISIS, he said. "That's local forces. That's people who make certain that ISIS doesn't come back", Mattis said, highlighting the U.S. desire to shift its focus to local forces providing stability.

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