Posted on August 21, 2014
The White House and Pentagon released statements yesterday confirming that President Barack Obama personally authorised the July mission, which culminated in a firefight between militants and more than 20 Delta Force commandos, one of whom received a “minor injury”.
The raid on an oil refinery in northern Syria was ultimately unsuccessful because the hostages, thought to have been held there in the weeks leading up to the operation, had recently been moved. The mission was triggered by intelligence from several European hostages freed by the militants previously.
It is the first reported deployment of US ground troops in Syria since the start of the country’s civil war in 2011. The mission was supposed to remain secret, said National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden. “We only went public … when it was clear a number of media outlets were preparing to report on the operation and that we would have no choice but to acknowledge it,” she said.