The US has sent 400 additional troops to Syria to support an allied local force aiming to capture the so-called Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa. They include Marines, who arrived in the past few days. US special forces are already in Syria.
Meanwhile, US-led coalition air strikes killed 20 civilians – including children near the city, reports say. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is to host talks with coalition members ahead of an expected assault on Raqqa.
Foreign ministers and senior officials from 68 nations and international organisations had been invited to attend a two-day gathering in Washington beginning on 22 March, the state department said.
“Secretary Tillerson has been crystal clear that defeating Isis (IS) is the state department’s top priority in the Middle East,” acting state department spokesman Mark Toner said(BBC,2017).