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Sep 2, 2015

Five Chinese ships in Bering Sea as Obama visits Alaska

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Five Chinese Navy ships are sailing in international waters in the Bering Sea off Alaska, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, in an apparent first for China’s military that came as U.S. President Barack Obama toured the U.S. state.

Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said it was the first time the United States had observed Chinese Navy ships in the Bering Sea.

Aug 5, 2015

U.S. drone hits Syria in first lethal strike launched from Turkey

WASHINGTON/ANKARA (Reuters) – The United States has conducted its first drone strike into northern Syria from a base in Turkey, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, ahead of what Ankara said would soon be a “comprehensive battle” against Islamic State militants there.

A spokesman in Washington said the raid by an unmanned drone was launched on Monday from the Incirlik air base near the southern city of Adana in Turkey, a U.S. ally with the second largest armed forces in NATO. Preparations were underway for strikes inside Syria by manned U.S. warplanes.

Aug 5, 2015

First U.S. drone strike from Turkey against Islamic State in Syria

WASHINGTON/ANKARA (Reuters) – The United States has conducted its first drone strike into northern Syria from a base in Turkey, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, ahead of what Ankara said would soon be a “comprehensive battle” against Islamic State militants there.

A spokesman in Washington said the raid by an unmanned drone was launched on Monday from the Incirlik air base near the southern city of Adana in Turkey, a U.S. ally with the second largest armed forces in NATO. Preparations were underway for strikes inside Syria by manned U.S. warplanes.

Aug 5, 2015

In blow, U.S.-trained Syrian rebels captured by al Qaeda wing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said on Tuesday it had indications that Syrian rebels trained by the U.S. military were captured by fighters from al Qaeda’s Syria wing, Nusra Front, in the latest blow to a fledgling program at the center of America’s war strategy.

The Pentagon said in a statement it was monitoring the situation but had “no further details to provide.”

Aug 4, 2015

U.S.-trained Syrian rebels believe captured by militants – source

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States believes that at least five Syrian rebels who were trained by the U.S. military have been captured by suspected members of Syria’s al Qaeda affiliate, Nusra Front, a U.S. official said on Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

If confirmed, the capture of the U.S.-trained fighters would be another blow to the U.S. military’s still fledgling program to deploy local forces to counter Islamic State militants inside Syria, supporting them with U.S.-led coalition air strikes.

Aug 3, 2015

First U.S.-trained Syria rebel believed killed in fighting – sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A member of a new Syrian force trained by the U.S. military was believed to have been killed in clashes last week with al Qaeda’s Syria wing, in what would be the fledgling force’s first battlefield casualty, U.S. officials said in an interview on Monday.

The U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the incident, said the Syrian rebel was believed to have been killed during fighting on Friday with suspected members of Nusra Front. One of the officials described the information as preliminary.

Aug 3, 2015

U.S. to defend Syrian rebels with airpower, including from Assad

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has decided to allow airstrikes to defend Syrian rebels trained by the U.S. military from any attackers, even if the enemies hail from forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, U.S. officials said on Sunday.

The decision by President Barack Obama, which could deepen the U.S. role in Syria’s conflict, aims to shield a still-fledging group of Syrian fighters armed and trained by the United States to battle Islamic State militants — not forces loyal to Assad.

Jul 28, 2015

U.S., Turkey weigh which Syrian rebels to support in border area

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and Turkey have not yet agreed which Syrian opposition fighters they will support in a joint effort to help clear Islamic State from an area along the Turkish border, officials said on Tuesday, underscoring uncertainty surrounding the campaign plan.

Washington and Ankara this week announced their intention to provide air cover for Syrian rebels and jointly sweep Islamic State fighters from a strip of land along the border, with U.S. warplanes using bases in Turkey for strikes.

Jul 27, 2015

Turkey, U.S. aim for safe zone cleared of Islamic State in northern Syria

ISTANBUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Turkey and the United States are working on plans to provide air cover for Syrian rebels and jointly sweep Islamic State fighters from a strip of land along the Turkish border, bolstering the NATO member’s security and providing a safe haven for civilians.

Long a reluctant member of the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State, Turkey last week made a dramatic turnaround by granting the alliance access to its air bases and bombarding targets in Syria linked to the jihadist movement.

Jul 24, 2015

Pentagon chief flies into Iraqi Kurdistan, to meet Barzani

ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter arrived on an unannounced visit on Friday to Erbil, capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan region whose forces have emerged as one of America’s strongest partners in the fight against Islamic State.

Carter was expected to meet the Kurdistan region’s President Massoud Barzani as well as U.S. forces advising and training the Kurdish region’s security forces, known as peshmerga.

    • About Phil

      "Phil Stewart has worked for Reuters since 1998 and reported from more than 30 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, China and Egypt. Before becoming a Washington D.C.-based military affairs and intelligence reporter, Phil covered terrorism, foreign affairs and the Vatican from Rome from 2004 until mid-2009. He has also previously been based in Colombia and Brazil as a foreign correspondent. Before joining Reuters, Phil covered U.S. politics out of Washington D.C. for States News Service. He earned his BS in international relations from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. He speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. ..."
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