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Kurds Discuss Releasing 3,200 ISIS Prisoners After Trump Threatens Pullout From Syria
Top officials of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have discussed the possibility of releasing 3,200 ISIS prisoners the militia group has been holding, one day after President Donald Trump said U.S. troops would be leaving Syria, according to The New York Times.
In its fight against ISIS, the SDF has captured a large number of prisoners and has been holding them in northern Syria.
- The SDF currently has about 1,100 ISIS fighters and 2,080 relatives of ISIS members in its custody, the head of the Syrian Observatory on Human Rights told The Times.
- The militia group was discussing the release of the prisoners since it was "concerned that it would need all of its fighters" to defend against Turkey if the U.S. actually leaves.
- “The best result of terrible options is probably for the Syrian regime to take custody of these people,” a Western official told the Times on condition of anonymity. “If they are released it’s a real disaster and major threat to Europe.”
- A spokesperson for the Syrian Democratic Forces did not respond to a request for comment from Task & Purpose.
- Trump seemed to blindside not only his Kurdish allies but the entire national security establishment with his announcement of a troop withdrawal this week.
- Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had opposed a pullout and had argued that U.S. should keep a small U.S. presence in the country, according to The Washington Post.
- And one of the president's allies in Congress, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), blasted the decision as a "huge Obama-like mistake."
- Still, the Pentagon confirmed it would begin drawing down forces in Syria but did not provide specifics.
- “The coalition has liberated the ISIS-held territory, but the campaign against ISIS is not over,” Chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said. “We have started the process of returning U.S. troops home from Syria as we transition to the next phase of the campaign."
WATCH: President Trump Discusses Syria
The Taliban may not have breached the walls of Bagram, but they damaged the hell out of its main passenger terminal
Blasts from Taliban car bombs outside of Bagram Airfield on Wednesday caused extensive damage to the base's passenger terminal, new pictures released by the 45th Expeditionary Wing show.
The pictures, which are part of a photo essay called "Bagram stands fast," were posted on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service's website on Thursday.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
Shortly after seven sailors died aboard USS Fitzgerald when she collided with a merchant ship off Japan in 2017, I wrote that the Fitzgerald's watch team could have been mine. My ship had once had a close call with me on watch, and I had attempted to explain how such a thing could happen. "Operating ships at sea is hard, and dangerous. Stand enough watches, and you'll have close calls," I wrote at the time. "When the Fitzgerald's investigation comes out, I, for one, will likely be forgiving."
So, am I forgiving? Yes — for some.
Editor's note: a version of this story first appeared in 2015.
Most people haven't heard of an elderly Belgian-Congolese nurse named Augusta Chiwy. But students of history know that adversity and dread can turn on a dime into freedom and change, and it's often the most humble and little-known individuals who are the drivers of it.
During the very darkest days of the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, Chiwy was such a catalyst, and hundreds of Americans lived because of her. She died quietly on Aug. 23, 2015, at the age of 94 at her home in Brussels, Belgium, and had it not been for the efforts of my friend — British military historian Martin King — the world may never have heard her astonishing story.
More than $20 million of the Pentagon aid at the center of the impeachment fight still hasn't reached Ukraine.
The continued delay undermines a key argument against impeachment from President Trump's Republican allies and a new legal memo from the White House Office of Management and Budget.
Average pay, housing and subsistence allowances will increase for members of the military in 2020, the Pentagon announced Thursday.