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MANBIJ, Syria – The quiet, low-profile U.S. military presence in Syria isn’t quite so low-profile up close.
The American flag flies high from a number of a dozen or so positions the military has established, and can be spotted from afar as convoys rumble along dusty village roads in and around this northern Syrian town, near the Turkish border. And while most of the 2,000 troops the Pentagon has said are here are usually confined to their bases — some of which were occupied by Islamic State militants not long ago — they aren’t unnoticed.
“Other NATO and coalition forces can of course assist in the continued fight against ISIS and violent jihadists,” said Alan Mendoza, executive director of the Henry Jackson Society, a British conservative foreign policy think tank. “But only the U.S. has the capacity to manage a joined-up military campaign at every level, so its continued engagement is essential.”
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