Philip Harris ConflictDaily.com 10 March 2017
Conflict Daily released a story yesterday predicting this plan for the Raqqa operation in Syria. These Marines have officially arrived in northern Syria to assist with artillery support from a new fire base being set up. We predicted they would not have a direct role in the fight but more of a support role for the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces, US backed) fighters who will be doing the assaulting on the city itself.
The Washington Post reports that along with the new Marines joining the battlefield of Syria and more attack helicopters in the form of the AH-64 Apache helicopters that have already seen some action against ISIS in Mosul, Iraq.
Whats better than air strikes against ISIS? How about air strikes and artillery from the U.S. Marines. The deployed Marines are from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit. This new mission still only came to the spotlight because some Rangers from the 75th Ranger Regiment were spotted near Manbij with Stryker combat vehicles and officials then updated the press as to whats is occurring in northern Syria.
A long complaint of the forces on the ground fighting alongside the SDF is that they have minimal fire support and where air strikes and bomber air craft are great, they simply cannot loiter over the battlefield like a 155 howitzer can. Not to mention, artillery is immensely cheaper to run and operate than 100 million dollar bomber aircraft.
Only because the troops were spotted with new vehicles in Syria did defense officials brief the world to what their intentions are. This is common in military planning. It keeps ISIS guessing while adding weaponry to the American front in Syria.