Back in April nearly 400 US Marines were deployed to Syria with their M-777 howitzers. Their primary mission is to provide accurate fire support for Syrian Democratic Forces who are a combination of Kurdish and Arab fighters.
The Marine artillery will give the SDF the ability to call in accurate fire support while engaging IS positions in and around Raqqah. The SDF forces primarily consist of light infantry with little to no amour or artillery. The Marines are a significant force multiplier for the SDF along with coalition air support. M-777s are highly accurate with a effective range of 14.9 miles with the M-107 155mm shell or 40 miles with the M-982 Excalibur gps guided munition. The artillery is particularly effective against targets in areas where IS fighters have anti aircraft weapons like SA-7 MANPADs or ZSU-23 anti aircraft guns. This gives allied forces to hit targets where helicopters can’t safely operate.
The artillery will likely continue to provide support for the SDF until Raqqah is secure. The artillery battery’s can easily be moved by CH-53 Super Stallions or MV-22 Ospreys. The mobility offers flexibility during the ongoing operation.