Today President Obama has authorized the deployment of US Special Operations Forces to Syria. The strategic signaling has been present for at least a month so this comes as no surprise to our readers. The covert action programs the CIA and SOF ran out of Turkey to arm and train the Free Syrian Army (FSA) were shut down and a few days later 45 tons of munitions were airdropped to the Kurdish YPG in Northern Syria, signaling a clear policy change. The administration was abandoning failed policies with unreliable partners in Syria.
SOFREP sources report that an entire battalion of U.S. Special Forces soldiers are currently being cut orders for deployment to Kurdistan and many of these ODAs will probably have a final destination somewhere in Rojava. Meanwhile, we are also told that the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force (CJSOTF) for Syria will soon be, if it isn’t already, operational.
Furthermore, we are also told that the Rules of Engagement (ROE) for both Syria and Iraq are being changed. While SOF engaged in fighting ISIS have previously be restrained to an “advise and assist” mission, the ROE will now become “embed and accompany.” This is also a de facto acknowledgement that Iraqi soldiers are unwilling to fight for their own country without direct American and Coalition involvement. The Kurds will fight with or without America, but this is not true for Arab Iraqi troops, excluding small numbers of ISOF and ISWAT units.
The CJSOTF in Baghdad has recently had Special Forces Commanders In-Extremis (CIF) soldiers from multiple Special Forces Groups training Iraqi troops in call for fire procedures. Reportedly they are sick and frustrated with listening to their Iraqi counter-parts fight and die over the radio while they are fighting ISIS. Others have become victim to friendly fire incidents when American fighter jets conduct airstrikes. Soon, the command of the Baghdad CJSOTF will transition from Naval Special Warfare (SEAL Team Three) over to Marine Special Operations (MARSOC/Raiders).
Coalition partners have been training Iraqi troops just outside of Ramadi for deployment against ISIS.
In Kurdistan, Delta Force continues to take the lead for the JSOC when it comes to direct action raids in Syria and Iraq, as evidenced by their recent raid on a ISIS prison in Hawija which was done in conjunction with the Kurdish Special Tactics Group (STG) out of Erbil, where 160th Special Operations Aviation helicopters can be seen flying overhead at night.
The recent escalation in force, and deployment of SOF to Syria, from the United States come as the Kurdish YPG plans their invasion of the ISIS capital city of Raqqa.