By Al Jazeera’s James Landale, Aliza Robinson and Sarah RainsfordThe US is sending thousands of military personnel and equipment to Syria, including tanks and artillery, in an escalation of an escalating military intervention.
The move, which has already triggered a US arms embargo and a global ban on the sale of weapons to the Middle East, comes after the United States intervened in Libya, Syria and Iraq, all of which are now embroiled in a civil war.
It comes after President Donald Trump ordered a US military presence in Syria to support the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and he has said that US troops will remain there until a political solution is reached in Syria.
In a tweet on Tuesday, the US president said he will be making the decision on the number of US troops in Syria soon.
“We are going to decide soon on the size of the number and location of our military presence there,” Trump said.
“I think it will be announced very soon.”
The White House did not respond to Al Jazeera questions on what number of American troops would be sent to Syria.
Trump has been under pressure from his critics in Congress to abandon his intervention in Syria, which is a key part of his foreign policy agenda.
He has been forced to reverse his decision after Congress rejected a $500 million aid package for Syria that was approved by the White House.US officials say that if Washington does not remove its troops from Syria by the end of March, it will not be able to keep the support for the government going.
“They are a critical element in the coalition that we’re supporting, so the longer we’re there, the more we’re not able to support them, and we’re just going to be stuck with a situation where the US government is not providing us with the kind of support we need,” said a US official familiar with the decision.
“That will mean that the opposition will not have the capacity to stand up to Assad, and that will result in more and more civilian casualties and more and longer civil wars.”
Trump’s decision to send US military personnel into Syria has prompted anger and protests from many people in the Middle Eastern country.
In the past few weeks, protesters have gathered in front of the Syrian embassy in Washington DC, in a protest against the president’s decision.
On Monday, hundreds of people gathered in downtown Washington to protest Trump’s decision, calling for his resignation.
The protest was held in solidarity with those who took to the streets in Tahrir Square in Cairo in January to demand Morsi’s resignation.
Earlier this week, a demonstration against the US military intervention took place in Istanbul, Turkey.