Pentagon: US, Russian forces in close proximity in Manbij

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Pentagon: US, Russian forces in close proximity in Manbij

The former Italian foreign minister said the European Union was ready to do its bit once a "genuine political transition" from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's rule was underway.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford told a think tank audience in late February it would be "a political-military plan".

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it had recorded the deaths of 321,358 people since the conflict broke out in March 2011 with protests against President Bashar al-Assad.

While none of these soldiers are in Syria to fight, the Post's reporting suggests that that could soon change as military leaders consider plans to "embed USA forces alongside Syrian Kurdish and Arab forces, potentially pushing US soldiers and Marines into a direct combat role".

This is a frank admission that USA troops will not be going anywhere even after the Islamic State is removed, despite the fact that the presence of the Islamic State is the only justification the US military has offered for its technically illegal presence within Syria.

The troops from the 75th Ranger Regiment deployed west of the town of Manbij, northwest of Raqqa, with heavily armored Stryker fighting vehicles.

Dorrian said the US was daily using the "deconfliction channel" - the hotline set up by the USA and Russia to avoid mishaps in air operations over Syria - to avoid any "miscalculations" by the Russian ground troops and the Rangers.

Votel told reporters last week that he would not hesitate to request more conventional military units in Iraq if necessary. "They're not hanging out together".

What happens if the Marines mistakenly target positions of the Syrian armed forces, Russia's ally, or what would the United States do if the Marines came under attack from, say, Iranian-backed forces?

However, Dorrian said he could not rule out the risk of a clash between the Rangers and the Russians through misunderstanding or miscalculation. "It's a concern of ours, it's quite clear it's a concern of theirs". At first, the two forces would communicate a couple times a week, Dorrian said, though it has increased.

Mr. Heras notes, for example, that the United States is working closely with the mainly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces, much to the dismay of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey, which considers the Kurdish fighters terrorists. A Russian and Turkish brokered ceasefire agreed at the end of 2016 has barely been observed by either rebels or government forces, who blame each other for continuous outbreaks of violence.

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