A detachment of U.S Marines arrived in Syria outside the ISIS de-facto capital of Raqqa, a U.S. defense official confirmed Wednesday to Fox News.
The Pentagon is not publically confirming the move, citing operational security.
The recent deployment is expected to be discussed Thursday when the head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Joe Votel, the top U.S. general responsible for American forces in the Middle East, appears before Congress to testify on the ISIS fight.
Votel had hinted that more troops would be headed to Syria along with artillary when he spoke to reporters while traveling in the region late last month.
The U.S. is authorized to have up to 500 troops in Syria. Before the Marines arrived, roughly 300 U.S. special operations personnel were supporting local Syrian forces there.
The Washington Post reports that the defense official denied that this deployment was a result of President Trump's demand for a plan to defeat ISIS, saying, the plan had "been in the works for sometime.”
The leader of ISIS, Abu al-Baghdadi, has fled Mosul, another ISIS-held city under attack by the U.S.-backed coalition, according to the Pentagon Wednesday. The Pentagon says his whereabouts are unknown but he is characterized as being "on the run," by a U.S. defense official.
Iraqi Air Force Commander Hamid Maliki told the Anadolu News Agency that Mosul should fall to Iraqi forces "within the next six weeks."
President Trump had made ISIS a central part of his campaign platform, promising to defeat and utterly destroy the terror group. He also said that he had his own plan to defeat them, and that nobody knew what it was except him. He has made it very clear that he wants to turn back U.S. policy from "nation-building" and advocated that we bomb Iraqi oil fields to starve out ISIS.