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00:00:01
>> The number of US troops in Syria is about 2,000, four times the number previously disclosed. That's according to two US officials who told Reuters Friday the Pentagon is likely to come clean about the discrepancy. Reuters reporter Idrees Ali.>> So basically there's this system called the force management level that was put in place under the Obama administration that basically set the cap at 503 troops in Syria.
00:00:29
But in their workarounds in this, where you can bring in temporary troops, you can hire contractors. So it's sort of been this spoken secret that there are more than 500 troops within Syria. When Secretary of Defense Mattis took over, one of the things he did tell reporters is that he's frustrated with the accounting system that's in place currently.
00:00:46
And he would like to see sort of a more transparent method in which they're counted.>> Most US troops in Syria work to train and advise the Syrian Democratic Forces group of Kurdish and Arab militias fighting Islamic State in the north of the country. It's not clear how long the actual number in Syria has been over 2,000.
00:01:06
>> This isn't an increase of troops, it's just a more transparent sort of understanding of the troop number. With that being said, I think for the average American, it does sort of bring home how many US troops there are.>> It's not just Syria. Officials have privately acknowledged in the past that the real number for Iraq is also more than the force management level number of 5,262.
00:01:28
But one of the officials told Reuters the real number in Iraq is not expected to be disclosed because of political sensitivities about US forces in Iraq.