A gentle reminder: we have special operations forces on the ground in Syria and have for some time. This week saw one of the larger and more successful raids on ISIS leaders including the death of a major player.
U.S. Special Operations forces staged an overnight ground raid in Syria early Saturday, killing what the Obama administration said was a senior Islamic State official and capturing his wife.
Delta Force troops, flying from Iraq aboard Black Hawk helicopters and V-22 Ospreys, encountered almost immediate fire from militant forces when they touched down in al-Amr, near eastern Syrian oil fields that the Islamic State has tapped to generate income with black-market fuel sales.
In what a U.S. Defense official described as “close-quarters combat” against militants using women and children as human shields, about a dozen militants were killed. They included the target of what was originally designed as a capture operation, identified by the White House and the Pentagon as Abu Sayyaf, a Tunisian.
His wife, identified only as Umm Sayyaf, was said to have been captured and brought back to Iraq in one of the bullet-riddled U.S. aircraft that landed at dawn back in Iraq. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said that no U.S. forces were killed or injured during the operation. No civilians were reported injured.
U.S. forces recovered laptops, cellphones, files and a number of archaeological artifacts and historic items, including an Assyrian Bible and antique coins, the Defense official said.
The soldiers also rescued a young woman, an Iraqi from the minority Yazidi sect, who was being held by the couple as a slave, according to statements issued by the White House and the Defense Department. Countless Yazidis have been executed or enslaved by the Islamic State as it has moved through their homeland in northern Iraq. Officials said they hoped to reunite her with her family.
The raid was only the second time U.S. Special Operations forces are known to have operated on the ground in Syria, and the first “direct action” mission by American forces there. Special operators conducted an unsuccessful mission last summer to rescue American hostages being held by the militants, who later executed them.
In and out, no civilian casualties, captured intel and freed a hostage. Seems like some days our military really does bat 1.000. But as far as our policies, go...well...that's been a mess for over a decade, now, hasn't it?