U.S. bolstering military presence in northern Syria
The Pentagon announced that it was deploying additional troops to northern Syria to ensure the protection of Coalition troops and the continuation of their operations to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS).
“U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) has directed a number of actions in northeast Syria to help ensure the safety and security of Coalition forces," CENTCOM said in a statement on Friday.
"Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve re-postures elements in northeast Syria to ensure the protection of our forces and the continuation of the Defeat-ISIS mission."
NBC News said, citing U.S. defence officials, the deployment of a small number of U.S. troops to Syria came after a series of escalating encounters between the U.S. and Russian militaries.
"These actions and reinforcements are a clear signal to Russia to adhere to mutual de-confliction processes and for Russia and other parties to avoid unprofessional, unsafe and provocative actions in northeast Syria," NBC News cited a U.S. official as saying.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced in October last year his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, ahead of a Turkish incursion into Kurdish-controlled northeastern provinces of the country.
The mainly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have provided the main bulk of ground forces of the U.S.-led coalition fighting against ISIS in Syria. Turkey sees the SDF as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has been fighting inside Turkey since 1984.