Syrian city’s recapture seen as model for taking ISIS ‘capital’


U.S. officials see the recapture of an Islamic State stronghold in Syria  —  the city of Manbij — as a model for future U.S.-backed operations against the murderous terror group, and especially for  supporting a march by allied forces on Raqqa, the group’s “capital.”

Fighters in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a U.S.-supported group that includes Kurdish militias and local Arab groups, regained control of Manbij, near the Turkish border and what had been a key logistics point for the Islamic State.

U.S. officials said the offensive showed the value of the small force of U.S. Special Operations troops on the ground in Syria, as they coordinated U.S. airstrikes and advised Syrian forces during intense urban fighting.

“Our operating concept has been validated,” a senior defense official told The Washington Post. “Utilizing local forces and our own Special Operations forces, partnered with overwhelming coalition air power, and enough time — the Islamic State really doesn’t have an answer to it.”

To read The Post’s story, hit this link.

Russian jets use Iran airbase to attack Syrian rebels


Russian  airstrikes against, Russia asserts, Islamic State in Syria from an airbase in Iran were the first time in 70 years in which Russian forces have operated on Iranian soil. It’s major expansion in the collaboration among the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s and his two main allies — Russia and Iran.

The Guardian noted that hosting Russian jets on Iranian territory is a major change by Tehran from its previous history of  mostly just covert operations in regional conflicts.

To read The Guardian’s article, please hit this link.

FBI chief warns of terror ‘diaspora’


Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey warned that if the Islamic State  is defeated in the Middle East: a “diaspora” of the group’s fighters could infiltrate Western Europe and the U.S. and stage many terror attacks there.

“This is an order of magnitude greater than any diaspora we’ve seen before,” Mr. Comey said. “A lot of terrorists fled out of Afghanistan in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This is 10 times that or more.”

To read The Wall Street Journal’s article on Mr. Comey’s warning, please hit this link.

Downed Russian copter raises questions about the size of Russia’s role in Syria


The apparent shooting down of a new Russian state-of-the-art Mi-35M helicopter, which could only be operated by the Russian military, over a Syrian area controlled by the Islamic State suggests how much the Russians are directly involved in the Syrian civil war to support dictator Bashar Assad.

The Washington Post noted that the case of the downed aircraft again raises the question of how much Russian forces, including special forces and artillery, are “helping Syria’s battered military take back ground held by the Islamic State and other rebel groups, including those {anti-Islamic State ones} backed by the United States?”

To read The Post’s story, please hit this link.