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US Special Operations Forces Are On The Ground Fighting ISIS In Raqqa
When the U.S.-backed coalition marked the anniversary of D-Day by launching its much-anticipated siege against ISIS militants in Raqqa, the Syrian Democratic Forces and Kurdish militias who encircled the city for a three-pronged assault didn’t do so alone: U.S. special operators are fighting side-by-side with regional allies as they brace for a punishing, block-by-block expulsion of jihadists from their de facto capital.
“Coalition SOF are in Raqqa, and they are close to the front lines,” Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon confirmed to Military Times on June 9.
The United States has contributed significant firepower to the long slog to Raqqa as part of its “advise and assist” mission, slowly deploying Marines with M777 howitzers to pop-up firebases on the outskirts of the city, delivering small arms and anti-tank weapons to SDF and Kurdish fighters, and calling in AH-64 Apache helicopters and air strikes to cover the insertion of U.S. military advisers among advancing regional allies
But now, boots are officially on the ground. And the arrival of special operations forces — the Obama and Trump administrations’ weapons of choice, already stretched thin by multiple deployments — signals that the coalition is girding itself for a long urban firefight, similar to what Iraqi security forces faced during the long siege of Mosul.
"We expect this to be a fight very similar," Dillon told Military Times, emphasizing that U.S. forces are not “kicking down doors” but advising Syrian forces on said door-kicking. "Not quite as built-up and as a dense urban terrain as we've seen in Mosul, but nonetheless ISIS has had almost three years to prepare for this fight, and we expect it to be very difficult."
Coalition troops may have to get their boots dirty in Raqqa sooner rather than later. SDF and Kurdish fighters are facing down more than 2,500 ISIS militants infesting the narrow rooftops and alleys of the city with deadly DIY rounds. On June 6th, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis affirmed that “hundreds” of U.S. troops are wrapped up in the operation to free the city
In March, the Pentagon was considering sending 1,000 more U.S. troops to help bolster the fight against ISIS, ordering the 75th Ranger Regiment to the city of Manbij west of Raqqa as a warning to Russian, Turkish, and Syrian fighters operating in the region. Weeks later, the DoD deployed 2,500 troops to Kuwait to stand ready to turn up the heat on the jihadists.
If the battle for Raqqa lasts longer than expected, it won’t be too long until conventional forces may be forced to dive into the fray.
What started as a wildly popular Facebook hoax titled Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us back in June has since morphed into a real live event. That's right, the long awaited day is upon us.
As of Friday morning, people have begun to make their way to the secret U.S. military installation in the Nevada desert in search of answers to the questions that plague us all: Are we alone in the universe? Is our government secretly hiding a bunch of aliens? Just how fast can I "Naruto run" past the base gate? And how far can we take a joke with the U.S. military?
The Marine Corps is loading up one of its experimental unmanned ground vehicle with a buttload of firepower.
The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab is working on a prototype of its tracked Expeditionary Modular Autonomous Vehicle (EMAV) with a remote-controlled .50 caliber machine gun turret and a specialized launcher for kamikaze drones to accompany Marines in urban environments, Military.com reports.
An Air Force civilian has died at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar in a "non-combat related incident," U.S. Air Forces Central Command announced on Friday.
Jason P. Zaki, 32, died on Wednesday while deployed to the 609th Air Operations Center from the Pentagon, an AFCENT news release says.
At a time when taxpayer and foreign-government spending at Trump Organization properties is fueling political battles, a U.S. Marine Corps reserve unit stationed in South Florida hopes to hold an annual ball at a venue that could profit the commander in chief.
The unit is planning a gala to celebrate the 244th anniversary of the Marines' founding at President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach on Nov. 16, according to a posting on the events website Evensi.
QUANTICO, Virginia -- They may not be deadly, but some of the nonlethal weapons the Marine Corps is working on look pretty devastating.
The Marine Corps Joint Nonlethal Weapons Directorate is currently testing an 81mm mortar round that delivers a shower of flashbang grenades to disperse troublemakers. There is also an electric vehicle-stopper that delivers an electrical pulse to shut down a vehicle's powertrain, designed for use at access control points.
"When you hear nonlethal, you are thinking rubber bullets and batons and tear gas; it's way more than that," Marine Col. Wendell Leimbach Jr., director of the Joint Nonlethal Weapons Directorate, told an audience at the Modern Day Marine 2019 expo.