The US President Joe Biden is committed to keeping US troops in Syria and always acts decisively to protect American people, said US National Security Council spokesman, John Kirby, on Sunday.
Kirby talked on CBS’s “Face the Nation” amid escalating tensions in the Middle East after an American contractor was killed on Thursday in an Iranian drone attack against a US base in Syria, and Washington responded in the war-torn country with strikes on facilities affiliated to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
“Here’s what’s not gonna change … the mission in ISIS is not gonna change,” Kirby said, referring to the struggle of the international coalition established against the Islamic State (ISIS) which led by Kurdish fighters on the ground in Syria
“We have under 1,000 troops in Syria that are going after that network which is, while greatly diminished, still viable and still critical,” Kirby said.
Kirby said he would not “rule out the potential for additional US action” if Biden deems it appropriate and necessary to continue to protect US troops and facilities in the region, when the programme’s host Margaret Brennan suggested the Iranian-backed groups “don’t appear to be deterred” by Washington’s response.
There are roughly 900 US troops in northern Syria, partnered with local Kurdish-led forces to prevent a resurgence of ISIS, while an additional 2,500 US troops deployed in Iraq have been advising and training local forces to deter the jihadists.
During a congressional testimony Last Thursday, the United States’ top general Michael Kurilla disclosed that since the beginning of 2021, US troops in Syria and Iraq have been attacked by Iranian proxies about 78 times.