Number Likely Far Higher
An accounting system, known as the Force Management Level (FML), was introduced in Iraq and Syria under the Obama administration as a way to exert control over the military. But the numbers do not reflect the extent of the US commitment on the ground, since commanders often find ways to work around the limits, sometimes bringing in forces temporarily or hiring more contractors.
Current FML figures are officially 5,262 in Iraq and 503 in Syria, but officials have privately acknowledged that the real number for each country is more.
The US has overtly lied about troop levels in Syria consistently throughout their deployment.
Less than a month ago, Gen. James Jarrard told reporters the US had about 4,000 troops in the country…
though the Pentagon at the time claimed he was wrong and the real number was only 503.
Adding to the confusion, the Defense Department had also offered figures to Congress on overseas deployments, and those figures said 1,723 troops were in Syria at the time.
Despite this, the official troop figure has not changed.