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Turkey’s invasion of Syria has allowed ‘many dangerous ISIS detainees’ to escape, Esper says
Defense Secretary Mark Esper has confirmed that a nightmare scenario has come to pass: Captured ISIS fighters are escaping as a result of Turkey's invasion of Kurdish-held northeast Syria.
Turkey's incursion has led to "the release of many dangerous ISIS detainees," Esper said in a statement on Monday.
While Esper did not say how many prisoners who had been held by the Syrian Democratic Forces had managed to escape, nearly 800 women and children who are related to ISIS fighters were able to flee a Kurdish prison camp at Ain Issa after it was attacked by the Turks, according to Reuters.
Even worse: Turkey's Islamic proxies are freeing ISIS fighters from unguarded prisons, Foreign Policy reporter Lara Seligman brought to light on Monday.
Kurdish fighters captured tens of thousands of ISIS fighters and their families as the caliphate crumbled. Defense officials had persistently warned that the Syrian Democratic Forces were not prepared to hold that many prisoners indefinitely, and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has urged his followers to launch massive jail breaks to replenish the terrorist group's ranks.
President Donald Trump tweeted on Monday that he suspected it was the Kurds who were intentionally freeing ISIS fighters as part of a ploy to win U.S. support again.
"Kurds may be releasing some to get us involved," the president tweeted, without providing any evidence. "Easily recaptured by Turkey or European Nations from where many came, but they should move quickly."
During an interagency conference call on Monday, a senior administration official was unable to say how many ISIS prisoners have escaped and whether any of those detainees freed include ISIS fighters.
"We don't have a large footprint in Syria," the official said on condition of anonymity. "We can't be everywhere and know everything. From DoD's perspective, we're continuing to monitor and try to corroborate as much information as we are seeing in open source information or from other [sources] on the ground. I cannot corroborate at this point exactly who may have broken out of the prisons at this point."
Some U.S. service members will remain to the Al Tanf garrison, said the official, who would not provide a timeline for when the rest of the U.S. troops in Syria will leave the country.
UPDATE: This story was updated on Oct. 14 with comments from a senior administration official.
The U.S. Space Force has a name tape for uniforms now. Get excited people.
In a tweet from its official account, the Space Force said its uniform name tapes have "touched down in the Pentagon," sharing a photo of it on the chest of Gen. John W. Raymond, the newly-minted Chief of Space Operations for the new service branch nested in the Department of the Air Force.
PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump gave a minute-to-minute account of the U.S. drone strikes that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in remarks to a Republican fund-raising dinner on Friday night, according to audio obtained by CNN.
With his typical dramatic flourish, Trump recounted the scene as he monitored the strikes from the White House Situation Room when Soleimani was killed.
The U.S. Navy will name its fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier after Doris Miller, an iconic World War II sailor recognized for his heroism during the Pearl Harbor attack, according to reports in The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and U.S. Naval Institute News.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly is expected to announce the naming of CVN-81 during a ceremony on Monday in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, according to USNI. Two of Miller's nieces are expected to be there, according to the Star-Advertiser.
Two immigrants, a pastor and an Army sergeant have been convicted of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud as part of an illegal immigration scheme, according to federal prosecutors.
Rajesh Ramcharan, 45; Diann Ramcharan, 37; Sgt. Galima Murry, 31; and the Rev. Ken Harvell, 60, were found guilty Thursday after a nine-day jury trial, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office in Colorado.
The conspiracy involved obtaining immigration benefits for Rajesh Ramcharan, Diann Ramcharan, and one of their minor children, the release said. A married couple in 2007 came to the U.S. from Trinidad and Tobago on visitor visas. They overstayed the visas and settled in Colorado.
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran said on Saturday it was sending to Ukraine the black boxes from a Ukrainian passenger plane that the Iranian military shot down this month, an accident that sparked unrest at home and added to pressure on Tehran from abroad.
Iran's Tasnim news agency also reported the authorities were prepared for experts from France, Canada and the United States to examine information from the data and voice recorders of the Ukraine International Airlines plane that came down on Jan. 8.
The plane disaster, in which all 176 aboard were killed, has added to international pressure on Iran as it grapples with a long running row with the United States over its nuclear program that briefly erupted into open conflict this month.