U.S. Vice President Mike Pence greets troops after helping to serve a Thanksgiving meal to U.S. troops in a dining facility at Camp Flores on Al Asad Air Base, Iraq November 23, 2019. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - Vice President Mike Pence visited Iraq on Saturday to reassure Iraqi Kurds of U.S. support after President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria drew criticism that Washington had betrayed its Kurdish allies there.

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Conflict photographer Lynsey Addario has seen a hell of a lot of combat over the past twenty years. She patrolled Afghanistan's Helmand Province with the Marines, accompanied the Army on night raids in Baghdad, took artillery fire with rebel fighters in Libya, and has taken photos in countless other wars and humanitarian disasters around the world.

Along the way, Addario captured images of plenty of women serving with pride in uniform, not only in the U.S. armed forces, but also on the battlefields of Syria, Colombia, South Sudan and Israel. Her photographs are the subject of a new article in the November 2019 special issue of National Geographic, "Women: A Century of Change," the magazine's first-ever edition written and photographed exclusively by women.

The photos showcase the wide range of goals and ideals for which these women took up arms. Addario's work includes captivating vignettes of a seasoned guerrilla fighter in the jungles of Colombia; a team of Israeli military police patrolling the streets of Jerusalem; and a unit of Kurdish women guarding ISIS refugees in Syria. Some fight to prove themselves, others seek to ignite social change in their home country, and others do it to liberate other women from the grip of ISIS.

Addario visited several active war zones for the piece, but she found herself shaken by something much closer to home: the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina.

Addario discussed her visit to boot camp and her other travels in an interview with Task & Purpose, which has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

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So the United States and Syria haven't so much broken up as they have transitioned to being friends with benefits.

Bradley fighting vehicles with the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team — a National Guard unit that includes troops from North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia — have arrived in Deir ez-Zor, the U.S. military's top spokesman in Syria and Iraq tweeted on Thursday.

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the U.S. military had killed the person who likely would have succeeded Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the leader of Islamic State.

"Just confirmed that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's number one replacement has been terminated by American troops," Trump wrote on Twitter. "Most likely would have taken the top spot."

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Beloved readers: After a week filled with more twists and turns than this reporter's lower intestines, your friend and humble narrator has no idea where the hell troops are withdrawing from or going to.

In past wars, it was possible to mark the U.S. military's positions with flags on paper maps. But we live in the age of Twitter, and since the commander in chief seems to be visited by the Good Idea Fairy every 15 minutes, there is no way to have an updated map of where U.S. forces are.

With regards to Syria, the U.S. military isn't leaving. It's repositioning forces because the mission has changed from fighting ISIS to protecting the oil. (This also may make the first time a sitting president has not tried to camouflage sending troops to protect oil by claiming the United States was liberating oppressed people.)

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Germany's defense minister presented to NATO her proposal for a security zone in northern Syria on Thursday, receiving support from Turkey and the United States but also a warning from the alliance's chief it may involve the United Nations.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told allies that an internationally controlled zone would also need Russia, now the dominant power in Syria, if it was to protect displaced civilians and ensure the fight continues against Islamic State militants, diplomats said.

But she insisted at the meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels that the task of patrolling the Turkish-Syrian border could not fall to Russia and Turkey alone, telling reporters: "The status quo is not a satisfactory solution."

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