US com­man­der makes se­cret visit to Syria

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

WASHINGTON—The lead­ing US com­man­der for the Mid­dle East vis­ited north­ern Syria on Sun­day, of­fi­cials said.

Gen­eral Joseph Vo­tel, head of US Cen­tral Com­mand (Cent­com), met with US mil­i­tary ad­vi­sors work­ing with Syr­ian Arab fighters and with lead­ers of the Syr­ian Demo­cratic Forces, a Cent­com spokesman said, de­clin­ing to pro­vide more de­tails.

Dur­ing the se­cret trip which lasted sev­eral hours, the Cent­com com­man­der vis­ited a hand­ful of lo­ca­tions, CNN re­ported as it ac­com­pa­nied Vo­tel, the high­est-rank­ing US mil­i­tary of­fi­cial to travel to Syria since its civil con­flict be­gan in 2011.

US spe­cial op­er­a­tions forces are help­ing train fighters in Syria to fight ISIS as the United States leads a coali­tion of coun­tries in an air war against the mil­i­tants in Iraq and Syria.

IS has seized swathes of ter­ri­tory in Syria and Iraq to cre­ate a self-styled “caliphate.” Its leader, Abu Bakr alBagh­dadi, has re­ceived pledges of al­liance from ji­hadist groups around the world.—Agen­cies

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