Hot Button Topic: No Boots on the Ground in Syria?

For over a year now, the Obama Administration has claimed that it will fight ISIS with air power, intelligence and training support for our allies on the ground in Iraq and Syria; it was also emphatically emphasized that there would be no boots on the ground for anything other than those purposes. Try telling that to the family of Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler who lost his life on a daring covert raid to free some 70 ISIS prisoners who were in danger of immediate execution. Many people, including myself, are becoming increasingly frustrated with the administrations lack of a concrete strategy on how to defeat ISIS that works and what exactly that strategy involves. The tactics we have employed so far do not seem to be halting ISIS’ spread in the region at all.

The raid itself took place on October 22nd, 2015. It was said to be a mission to free several ISIS prisoners from a prison near the ISIS stronghold of Hawija, Syria. Satellite imagery had showed that mass graves were being prepared at the prison and this alerted the US and its allies that executions were imminent. Members of the US Military’s elite Delta Force Unit were said to be acting in an advisory role in the mission to assist Kurdish Peshmerga fighters. When the Peshmerga fighters came under heavy fire and started taking casualties, the advisory role quickly changed into a combat situation. The Delta Force fighters, including Master Sergeant Wheeler, were credited with saving the mission and making it a success.

Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler
Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler

Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler was a career soldier who served several tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He was a highly decorated soldier who was awarded an amazing 11 Bronze Stars for valor. He is survived by a wife and four sons.

One puzzling aspect of the mission is it was unclear exactly what the mission’s objectives were and why it was of value to the USA; there was not believed to be any US hostages at the prison. There was thought to be some 15 captured Peshmerga fighters detained there, but there were none among the 70 people that were rescued. It was reported there were some Iraqi security force members among those rescued and several people who were thought to be detained because ISIS accused them of being spies.

The raid itself was not actually the first one that the government admitted to putting boots on the ground in Syria for, but it was the first one where an American service member died. Last May, American officials admitted to a successful mission in Syria that involved American military personnel being on the ground. That mission was said to have taken the life of prominent ISIS leader Abu Sayyaf from Tunisia. Details of the mission were vague but it was reported that Sayyaf was one of the masterminds behind ISIS’s recent rapid expansion.

Many people just want to know what exactly our government’s position is on the ISIS crisis. Are these instances of our soldiers being placed on the ground in Syria isolated incidents or is this a new twist in strategy? Should we expect more combat deaths there? It will be interesting to see what transpires in Syria over the next few months regarding American military personnel being on the ground in that country.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Craig Smith

Craig has been writing for several years but just recently made freelance writing a full time profession after leaving behind 26 years working in the swimming pool construction industry. He served four years in the US Air Force as an Imagery Interpreter Specialist in Okinawa, Japan and at SAC Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. As a staunch supporter of law enforcement personnel, emergency medical technicians, firemen, search and rescue personnel and those who serve in the military, Craig is proud to contribute to the US Patriot blog on their behalf.
Craig Smith
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