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Marines admit they have been in direct combat with ISIS in Syria while attached to Special Forces

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A U.S. Marine with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Africa fires an M38 designated marksman rifle. ( U.S.
Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Holly Pernell)

A small but determined US Marine contingent in Syria has been in direct combat this year, supporting US Special Operations troops in the region.

The Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response for Central Command (SPMAGTF) has been operating alongside Special Operations troops and indigenous allies in Northern Syria, as well as other hotspots around the globe.

“When Marines deploy, they want to get involved,” SPMAGTF commander Colonel Christopher Gideons said on Friday. “When there is a gunfight out there…They want to find that opportunity to feel like they are making a meaningful contribution. We did exactly that.”

A platoon-sized element was dispatched earlier this year to assist a Special Forces detachment, providing mortar, anti-armor and small arms fire support for the Green Berets and their Syrian Democratic Forces allies.

“They were integrated with [special operations forces], absolutely integrated. We were providing Marine infantry, we were providing indirect fires, and we were providing anti-tank fires,” Gideon said.

Over time, the platoon-sized group became around the size of two infantry companies, located in two different parts of Syria.

The crack Marine outfits were more than happy to be in the fight, and, with the help of some F/A-18s, were glad to lend their hand in winning the day.

“I am very happy and proud to say that we brought everybody home,” Gideons told Military.com.

For Gideons, the mission was proudly accomplished, even if he wasn’t calling the shots.

“I didn’t own missions in Iraq or Syria, but I had capabilities that could augment and support that mission’s successful accomplishment.”

From Egypt to Afghanistan, the SPMAGTFs were consistently busy during their 243 days in theater.

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