On Thanksgiving day, a EOD tech assigned to 5th Special Forces Group was killed in Ayn Issa, Syria.  US CENTCOM (Central Command) announced yesterday that a US soldier was killed by an IED blast, but withheld further details.  To understand why an American Special Forces advisor would be in Ayn Issa with the Kurdish YPG and affiliated Arab militias working under the banner of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), one need only look at a map.  The road south from Ayn Issa leads straight into the ISIS capital of Raqqa.

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Further West, the Kurdish YPG crossed the Euphrates river with the help of US Special Operations personnel, and took Manbij several months ago, before pushing toward Al Bab, a strategic decision which would close the Jarabulus corridor that supplies ISIS with weapons and fighters from Turkey.  Such a move would also link the Kurdish canton of Kobani with the isolated and besieged canton of Afrin.  Ayn Issa is linked to a separate strategic objective, capturing Raqqa and finishing off ISIS once and for all.

5th Group has been working inside Syria since President Obama announced that he was sending SOF soldiers into the country to work with SDF.  Initially, Delta Force was to be deployed to Syria working under the auspices of the CIA.  Delta Force is designed for surgical strikes, not long duration counter-insurgency missions or unconventional warfare, so they requested help from Special Forces.