Published On: Sat, Oct 19th, 2019

UK and US commanders mount rescue mission for 300 special forces soldiers trapped in Syria | World | News

Concern that the Coalition Joint Special Operations Task Force was becoming increasingly surrounded by Syrian and Russian units was so severe that it partly prompted the five-day cease fire negotiated by US Vice President Mike Pence and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. American, British and French special forces were forced to abandon a forward operating base and make a dash by road for an airfield south of Kobani, just hours after Russian forces ransacked an abandoned US contractor base nearby.

Separately, some 50 Britons, including SAS, were trapped at a Kobani cement factory used to mount joint operations against remaining Islamic State fighters.

Britain’s senior officer in Iraq, Major General Gerald ‘Gez’ Strickland, a former Gurkha officer and the deputy commander of regional Coalition forces, was last night kept closely informed of the situation.

Plans to evacuate the soldiers using C-130 Hercules aircraft were put on hold after fighting between Kurdish forces and Turkish-backed militia forced US commanders to contact the Pentagon.

A senior military source said: “No one had a chance to get out of Syria in a balanced and sensible order.”

US forces have dozens of MRAP mine-proof vehicles with state-of-the art communications which need to be airlifted.

Those left will need to be destroyed by US warplanes to deny them to Russian forces.

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