Wed Feb 22, 2017 03:01PM
General Joseph L. Votel, the head of the US Central Command, speaks to reporters at the Pentagon in Washington on August 30, 2016. (Photo by AP)
General Joseph L. Votel, the head of the US Central Command, speaks to reporters at the Pentagon in Washington on August 30, 2016. (Photo by AP)

The top US commander for the Middle East says more American troops may be needed in Syria to step up the so-called campaign against the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group in the war-torn country.

General Joseph L. Votel, the head of the US Central Command, made the announcement on Wednesday while speaking to reporters accompanying him on a trip to the Middle East region.

Asked by CBS News if further US troops would be dispatched to Syria, Votel said, “Perhaps,” stressing that he was "very concerned about maintaining momentum."

The local US-backed forces in Syria “don’t have as good mobility, they don’t have as much firepower, so we have to be prepared to fill in some of those gaps for them… and we take the burden on ourselves for that aspect of the fight,” he added.

Washington has currently about 500 Special Operations troops in Syria. However, their activities have been limited to what the Pentagon describes as training and assisting Kurdish forces in their battle against Daesh and other terrorist groups.

The US-backed Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) are said to be engaged in operations to drive terrorists from Raqqah, the de facto capital of Daesh in Syria. They dominate the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a multi-ethnic anti-Damascus alliance.

Members of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) are seen in the village of Fatisah, Raqqah province, Syria, May 25, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

During his final week in office, former US President Barack Obama announced plans to arm the YPG, but he left the ultimate decision to the administration of Donald Trump.

This is while Turkey views the YPG as a terrorist group and has objected any initiative to provide weapons to the outfit.

In an alleged bid to stop the advance of Kurdish forces and push Daesh from Turkey's border with Syria, Ankara has been leading a major military intervention in Syria since August 2016.

Earlier this month, Turkey's Hurriyet daily reported that Turkish military chief Hulusi Akar had presented his American counterpart, Joseph Dunford, with two plans for an alleged potential operation to “liberate” Raqqah from Daesh.

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Syrian army troops and allied fighters have been fighting foreign-sponsored militancy in the Arab country since 2011. The crisis has exacerbated by the meddling of the US and its regional partners.