Syrian mission is worth the risk, top US general says after rare visit

NORTH-EAST SYRIA — A U.S. deployment to Syria nearly eight years ago to combat ISIS terrorist groups is still worth the risk, top U.S. military officials said Saturday in the country’s northeast. said after a rare, unannounced visit to the dusty base. Encounter with U.S. Army.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley assesses efforts to prevent a resurgence of terrorist groups and considers measures to protect U.S. forces against attacks, including from drones flown by Iran-backed militias flew to Syria to

ISIS is the shadow of the group that controlled a third of Syria and Iraq in the caliphate declared in 2014, but hundreds of terrorists, backed by Russia, have also pushed the US-led coalition into Syria. They still camp in desolate areas where no army exists. Iran-backed militias exercise full control.

Thousands of other ISIS fighters are in detention facilities guarded by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, a key US ally in Syria.

American officials say ISIS may still resurface as a major threat.

But the mission is a remnant of a larger global war on terrorism, including the war in Afghanistan and the much larger deployment of US troops to Iraq.

Asked by a reporter accompanying him if he thought it was worth the risk to send about 900 U.S. troops to Syria, Millie linked the mission to the security of the United States and its allies, saying: said like The answer is yes. ”

“I just happen to think that’s important,” Millie said.

“So I think the permanent defeat of ISIS and the continued support of our friends and allies in the region are important tasks that can be done.”

Missions come with risks. Last month, four US soldiers were injured in a helicopter attack in which an ISIS leader caused an explosion.

Last month, the U.S. military shot down an Iranian-made drone that was attempting to conduct reconnaissance at a patrol base in northeastern Syria.

Three drones targeted a US military base in Syria’s al-Tanf region in January. The US military said two of the drones were shot down and the remaining drones hit the compound, injuring two members of the Syrian Free Army.

U.S. officials believe the drone and rocket attacks were directed by Iran-backed militias, with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad counting on support from Iran and Russia to send U.S. forces to the occupiers. It is a reminder of Syria’s complex geopolitics, which it regards as

Turkey, a U.S. NATO ally, has also threatened widespread attacks in Syria against U.S. military partners, the Syrian Kurds, whom Turkey considers terrorists.

US Army Major General Matthew McFarlane, who heads the US-led coalition against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, described attacks against US forces as “a distraction from our primary mission.”

McFarlane cited progress against ISIS, including reducing the number of internally displaced persons in refugee camps, a pool of vulnerable people who could be recruited by ISIS.

About 50,000 people, including Syrians, Iraqis and other nationals fleeing the conflict, live in al-Hol camps, and McFarlane estimates that about 600 babies are born there each year. I’m here.

Lieutenant Kamal Al-Sawafi of the Michigan National Guard is among the US soldiers in Syria who help provide security to Iraqis leaving Al-Hol who are being repatriated to Iraq in protected convoys.

Al-Sawafi, the son of an Iraqi refugee who immigrated to the United States, said helping Iraqi refugees brought him joy and the people of Al-Hol cheered as the Iraqis departed the camp for a better life in Iraq. He said he saw the

“I feel good,” Al-Sawafi said.

McFarlane believes there will come a time when US partners in Syria will be able to take control on their own.

“Over time, I envision that we will transition when the conditions are met. Our partners will uniquely have the sustainable capacity and ability to keep ISIS in check,” he said. said.