Commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), General Joseph Votel, has secretly visited the Syrian Arab Republic in order to meet with leaders of US-backed militant groups. The visit was made just two days after it was announced that Washington is going to dispatch more US troops to the Arab country.
On Friday, Votel, who coordinates military operations of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in Syria and Iraq, visited the frontline cities of Raqqa and Kobani, located in the northen part of Syria, and met with commanders of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
According to spokesman for the SDF, Talal Sello, the offensive of the militants’ group on Raqqa city and possible ways to expand coordination and support were discussed by Votel and SDF leaders during the hours-long meeting.
The US General also discussed the situation in Raqqa with Turkish officials, who are dissatisfied with ties between the US and the SDF and, allegedly, offered an alternative plan to liberate the city from the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group without SDF participation.
About two-thirds of the SDF consists of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which are considered by Ankara as a terrorist organization.
On Wednesday, Votel said that there is a need to dispatch more US troops to Syria in order to increase “mobility” and “firepower” of the US-backed group of militants. Reportedly, February 27 was announced as a deadline of representing a comprehensive plan for Washington’s involvement in Syria to US President Donald Trump by US officials.
Votel made his Syrian trip just several days after a similar visit to the country of Republican Senator John McCain, who is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“Senator McCain traveled to northern Syria last week to visit US forces deployed there and to discuss the counter-ISIL campaign and ongoing operations to retake Raqqa,” the spokeswoman for the Arizona senator said on Wednesday.
Source: South Front