US combat airlift marks deepening involvement in Syria

AP , Thursday 23 Mar 2017

The U.S. airlift of rebel fighters into combat in northern Syria marks a further deepening of American military involvement in the war against the Islamic State group.

It also suggests the Trump administration is taking an increasingly aggressive approach to an upcoming assault on the extremists' self-declared capital of Raqqa.

U.S. officials said Wednesday that the operation inserted an undisclosed number of Syrian Arab and Kurdish fighters behind Islamic State group lines west of Raqqa. The Americans did no fighting, but it was the first time U.S. forces had conducted such a mission in Syria. The purpose was to help launch an offensive aimed at recapturing the Tabqa dam and a nearby town and airfield.

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