Deadly attack on U.S. troops highlights an open-ended military mission
Briefly

US troops in Iraq and Syria have largely completed their mission against ISIS, but now face attacks from other adversaries who are critical of Washington's support for Israel's war in Gaza. The recent drone attack in Jordan, which killed three US service members, has raised urgent questions about the withdrawal of troops from the region. The US presence in Syria and Iraq dates back to 2014 when a coalition joined forces to drive out ISIS. However, with ISIS largely degraded, US troops have become vulnerable targets for other militant groups aligned with Iran.
"What's happened these past few weeks has exposed their vulnerability," said Dareen Khalifa, a senior adviser at the International Crisis Group. "I hope this will raise questions about why they are vulnerable, and how else they can make their presence less of a liability for everyone else who is working with them."
The US has approximately 2,500 troops in Iraq and 900 in Syria, with the mission of preventing ISIS from regaining a foothold in the region. However, the attacks on US troops by Iran-aligned militants have increased since October, with over 160 incidents reported. The mistaken targeting of a drone for a returning US aircraft in the recent drone attack in Jordan highlights the complexity and risks faced by US troops in the region.
The United States had close to 3,000 troops in Jordan as of 2023, according to the Congressional Research Service, focused on Jordanian security and the Islamic State. Officials said Monday that the drone approaching Tower 22, a base in the country's northeast, was mistaken for a returning American aircraft.
Read at Washington Post
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