Mattis sees larger U.S. civilian presence in Syria

Mattis sees larger U.S. civilian presence in SyriaBy Idrees Ali WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Friday that he expected to see a larger U.S. civilian presence in Syria, including contractors and diplomats, as the fight against Islamic State militants nears its end and the focus turns toward rebuilding and ensuring the militants do not return. The United States has about 2,000 troops in Syria fighting Islamic State. Mattis’ comments are likely to anger Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has previously called U.S. troops “illegal invader” forces.



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