first published on March 6, 2017 by Will
Video footage and photos have emerged from Manbij, Syria, showing Special Operations troops, including US Army Rangers on board a Stryker infantry fighting vehicle staged during a tactical halt.
Interestingly, the Stryker has some additional armor upgrades on top near the fighting ports, but only wears anti RPG slat armor on the nose of the vehicle. The lack of cage armor would make the vehicle more susceptible to projectile explosives but a lot more mobile and maneuverable. I would assume the variant would be an M1130 command vehicle, hopefully with the V-hull upgrade.
The presence of the additional US troops most likely has something to do with deterring attacks against our Syrian Defense Force (SDF) partners at the hands of the Turkish military and their jihadist FSA militias, as well as Assad regime forces. Just days ago, fighting broke out between the Manbij Military Council (SDF), who had Green Berets embedded within their ranks, and Turkish-backed forces in the Manbij area. The movement of more US troops in the area will signify to our allies that they have our support, and show the Turkish forces and pro-Assad fighters that they’re messing with the wrong dudes.
The additional troops may also be part of the staging portion of the immanent siege to free Raqqa from ISIS control. Initially, it was said that no Kurdish forces, including the SDF, would go into Raqqa as it is a predominantly Arab city. However, due to the FSA type rebels we once supported now falling under Turkish control, there are few options left.
Expect to see an increase in US combat troop deployments for the Raqqa operation and the refueled global jihad and influx of foreign fighters that will induce.