Media releases footage of US Special Operators on front line of offensive in Syria

A U.S. fighter stands near a military vehicle, north of Raqqa city, Syria November 6, 2016. (Credit: Rodi Said / Reuters)

American Special Operations Forces have been spotted on the front lines as US-backed forces kick off their offensive campaign against the Syrian ISIS ‘capital’ of Raqqa.

The US fighters were spotted on two separate occasions in the early days of November, with photos from Reuters and RT depicting bearded and well-equipped Westerners with American-made equipment securing an outpost and riding around in modified pickup trucks equipped with AT-4 anti-tank weapons.

Although the United States has pledged air support to their Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Kurdish allies in the new offensive campaign (which has been given the moniker Operation Euphrates Anger), it was unknown if any US troops would actually be on the ground throughout the campaign.

However, journalists from two major global news outlets have spotted what they describe as American and European forces in the region, presumably providing advisory assistance or coordinating airstrikes.

“During my trip across northern Raqqa, to the south of the community of Ain Issa, I saw dozens of American soldiers,” RT Arabic correspondent Muhammad Hassan said. “They have the latest weapons and vehicles, and they as well as soldiers from European countries are involved in the battles for the liberation of Raqqa together with Syrian Democratic Forces.”

Reuters correspondent Rodi Said snapped some photos on November 6th of US operators manning what appears to be either an outpost or defensive position located north of Raqqa, as well as operators moving equipment to and from their vehicles.

Also a long way from home are some American and Western volunteers with the Kurdish Peshmerga and Protection Units, which are also allegedly taking part in the campaign to liberate the Syrian city of Raqqa, which has for too long gone under the title of “capital” for ISIS forces.

US Presidential counter-Islamic State envoy Brett McGurk recently told reporters in Amman that the “initial phase” of the Raqqa offensive has begun.

“The Raqqa campaign will proceed in phases, deliberate phases, there is an isolation phase which began today and subsequent phases to ensure we kick out Daesh out of Raqqa,” McGurk said.

The envoy would go on to state that Arab groups would be leading the way, with the SDF serving as the “vanguard” forces that would go ahead of the Kurdish troops, who traditionally carry the bulk of the weight in the fight against ISIS.

“When it comes to Raqqa we want a force that ultimately liberates Raqqa that is primarily from the local area, Arabs from the area, and so we have trained many of these fighters and that force will continue to grow as we get to the subsequent phases of the campaign,” McGurk told reporters.

The images of American troops in Syria come mere days after two US Special Forces soldiers were killed during a raid in Afghanistan and three US service members were killed in a shooting during a training incident at King Faisal Air Force Base in Al Jafr, Jordan.

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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