Service & Sacrifice: US Troops Staying in Syria, Iraq

A snapshot of the burdens being shouldered by brave U.S. troops and military families around the world.

U.S. Army soldiers hold 120mm high-explosive mortar rounds during a live-fire exercise in northeast Syria on February 20, 2023.

By Tom Sileo Published on March 10, 2023

Syria

It may not feel like it and the national media rarely talks about it, but the U.S. military is still at war.

This week in Syria, where military operations against ISIS are ramping up, the brave American men and women in uniform serving there learned that they won’t be coming home anytime soon. That’s because a U.S. House resolution to withdraw all military forces from Syria was resoundingly voted down on Wednesday.

American troops were originally sent to Syria in late 2015 by President Barack Obama to battle ISIS terrorists and train Syrian Democratic Forces. More than seven years later, about 900 American service members remain in the country, which has been repeatedly devastated by war, terrorism and the recent deadly earthquakes.

Wherever one might stand on President Joe Biden’s decision to continue U.S. military involvement in Syria, we owe it to our troops and their families to support them. Whether it’s helping innocent civilians or fighting ISIS, our nation’s volunteer warriors are risking their lives on a daily basis. We ask God to keep them safe.

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Iraq

Almost 20 years after President George W. Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq, valiant U.S. troops are still putting their lives on the line there. After being withdrawn by President Obama in 2011 and ordered back in 2014 to combat ISIS, about 2,500 American service members are currently serving in Iraq.

As this week’s surprise visit to Iraq by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made clear, U.S. troops won’t be leaving that country anytime soon, either. According to Reuters, Secretary Austin said Tuesday that “U.S. forces are ready to remain in Iraq at the invitation of the government of Iraq” after meeting with Iraqi prime minister Mohammed al-Sudani. In Iraq, the U.S. military is still fighting ISIS as well as dealing with threats from Iran, including sporadic attacks on U.S. and coalition bases.

In a country where so much American blood and treasure has been lost after the past two decades, we pray that no more military families will lose a loved one in Iraq. Please pray for the safety of all U.S. service members stationed in Iraq.

Yemen

ISIS isn’t the only terrorist organization being confronted by U.S. military and intelligence professionals. Al Qaeda, which still has branches all over the world, continues to plan attacks on America and its allies.

This week, the terrorist group announced that two of its operatives were taken out by a suspected American drone strike last month in Yemen. ABC News reports that “the group’s media chief was killed along with another al Qaeda member” on February 26, according to a terrorist-linked website. The CIA “declined to comment” on the drone strike.

Thank you to our country’s military and intelligence warriors for continuing the fight against terrorism.

Coming Home

Speaking of the Middle East, a group of Oregon Army National Guard soldiers were officially welcomed home this week after almost a full year serving our country in the region.

Military Homecoming to Oregon

Oregon Army National Guard soldiers are presented with American flags that were flown over the U.S. Capitol to welcome them home from a nearly yearlong deployment to the Middle East during a ceremony in Hermiston, Oregon, on March 5, 2023.

Welcome home, heroes! Thank you for defending our freedom and security.

 

Tom Sileo is a contributing senior editor of The Stream. He is the author of the recently released Be Bold and co-author of Three Wise MenBrothers Forever8 Seconds of Courage and Fire in My Eyes. Follow Tom on Twitter @TSileo and The Stream at @Streamdotorg.

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