Elements of the 3rd battalion 75th ranger regiment have been deployed to Syria along with Stryker vehicles this marks the first time the unit has been officially deployed to Syria as part of Operation Inherent Resolve to root out IS from Syria. The deployment of the 75th Ranger regiment also might be a sign of a shift in US involvement to further support the largely secular SDF Syrian Democratic Forces with are composed of Kurdish fighters and Sunni and Christine Arab fighters. The SDF have been the most effective force in fighting IS in Syria. The US Army Rangers function primarily as a special operations light infantry force capable of conducting direct action operation’s on a 48-hour notice. Rangers give Special Operation’s Forces a conventional infantry support capability to further augment their existing units such as the Special Forces (Green Berets) 1stSOFD (Delta Force) and Navy Seals.
It is unclear whether or not the Rangers will be employed directly or if there role is limited to advisory but the presence of Stryker vehicles ensures the protection of coalition forces from the IS forces defending Raqqah. The SDF typically use light vehicles such as the improvised fighting vehicle or Technical essentially pick up trucks and jeeps with heavy weapons mounted on top as well as older Russian APCs. All are venerable to IEDs and RPGs employed by IS terrorist fighters the Stryker has the ability to shield the crew from RPGs with RPG cages and possible the use of active protection systems such as quick kill though it cannot be confirmed if the Army has deployed them or not. The Stryker’s also highlight a more high profile posture the US and coalition forces have in Syria with the SDF to protect the SDF from attack by the Assad Regime Forces, and the Syrian opposition. The high profile presence of US forces is a deterrent against these threats.
If the Rangers were to be involved in a direct confrontation with IS they would give the SDF and Special forces a conventional light infantry capability. Ranger teams function the same way as standard infantry units in the US Army and are trained to size objectives. Rangers successfully sized enemy airfields and other key objectives during the opening hours of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and have proven be successful in spearheading coalition operations. Raqqah is the largest city in IS control in Syria and the De facto Capital of IS.