On February 20 a MECRA researcher flew to Syria to witness a patrol with US-led Coalition forces. The US has maintained several facilities and posts in Syria over the last several years since the US-led Coalition began to support the Syrian Democratic Forces to defeat ISIS. This is an approach that works "by, with and through," partner forces.
There have been several shifts over the years in the approach, including training of local forces, and redeployments to secure oil as well as moving armored vehicles, such as Bradley Fighting Vehicles, to Syria. We spoke with Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the US-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, General Kevin Copsey via a video link and participated in a patrol with forces in northeast Syria. The patrol occurred near Derik (Al-Malikiyah) and went through several villages. US soldiers distributed candy and soccer balls and spoke with locals. The US unit included both male and female soldiers and we were able to see their daily life.
Below is a gallery of photos from our trip.