The US Army has re-enlisted hundreds of thousands of Americans to fight the Islamic state in Syria, the Pentagon said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The re-entry of more than 6,000 soldiers to the battlefield in Iraq and Syria demonstrates that the American military is ready to meet the challenges of the future,” said Brig. Gen. Robert Bales, the Army’s top commander for the Middle East and North Africa.
The announcement came after a day of events in the country that was marked by a brutal air assault by the US-led coalition, which has been conducting air strikes against the Islamic emirate since October.
The US-backed offensive began on Sunday, and has targeted the jihadist group in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
At least 10 people were killed in a US airstrike in Syria on Wednesday, the US military said.
The coalition’s air campaign, led by the United Arab Emirates, began with an air strike on the city of Raqqa, the Islamic extremist’s de facto capital in Syria.
The campaign is aimed at pushing the Islamic group from the region and to its de facto heartland in Iraq.
In the past two weeks, the coalition has carried out at least 6,600 air strikes and conducted more than 1,600 raids on the jihadist fighters.
It has also carried out a string of smaller raids, most recently in the southern province of Diyala.
On Tuesday, a US drone shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber flying over the Iraqi city of Fallujah, killing the pilot and a crew member.
The attack prompted President Donald Trump to order a review of the US strategy in the Middle Eastern country.
“We will have a much greater capacity to defend our interests in the region,” Trump said in the statement.
The Pentagon has also been carrying out raids against al-Qaida’s Iraq branch in the province of Ramadi.
It is one of the main strongholds of the group.
The move comes as the US is seeking to improve relations with Russia and China, which both have interests in maintaining a presence in the area.