Military Times: Marines deploy to Syria with artillery
"A "couple hundred" Marines have arrived in Syria, and now Islamic State fighters will taste real fear.
A contingent from the 11 th Marine Expeditionary Unit has deployed within artillery range from ISIS’ de facto capital of Raqqa, a military official told Marine Corps Times on Wednesday.
A senior U.S. official says the detachment includes a couple hundred Marines. ...
The Marines are pre-positioning howitzers to provide artillery support to friendly ground forces, who are in the process of isolating Raqqa ahead of a planned offensive to retake the city, the official said.
This marks the second time in as many years that Marines have provided artillery support for allied forces fighting ISIS. In March 2016, about 180 Marines from the 26 th Marine Expeditionary Unit spent about 60 days at the Kara Soar Counter Fire Complex in Makhmour, Iraq, near Mosul.
Known as Task Force Spartan, the Marines used four 155 mm M777A2 howitzers to fire more than 2,000 rounds in support of Kurdish and Iraqi troops. The firebase was 15 miles from ISIS forces, which often fired rockets at the Marines, Col. Robert Fulford, commander of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, said last year.
On March 19, 2016, one ISIS rocket attack killed Marine Staff Sgt. Louis Cardin and wounded eight other Marines.".......