Philip Harris ConflictDaily.com 22 March 2017
The Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) have been airlifted by the American forces inside Syria to raid the ISIS stronghold dam Tabqa. This means that this was most likely a joint raid of the SDF forces and some American special forces operators. There is no information as to where the SDF forces came from and what aircraft was used but more often than not VS-22 Ospreys would have been used. Ospreys have the ability to land and takeoff like a helicopter but can tilt their rotors forward transforming the aircraft into a propeller plane. With this tilt rotor capability Ospreys are a tool of choice for a raid like this.
The Tabqa dam is a strategic target that is vital to both ISIS and the SDF because if the dam is taken then they will have cut off ISIS troops, freedom of movement and supplies from coming from the west where ISIS has reinforcements. The Associated Press stated that spokesman for the operation Eric Pohan told them that no U.S. forces were on the front line engaging ISIS fighters but were supporting. How would they support the SDF by not shooting at ISIS?The Pentagon has stated in the past it was their intention to send in some AH-64 Apaches to help with supporting ground troops. Supporting the SDF like this is a huge step towards a lot more U.S. involvement inside Syria. Airlifting an ally of yours through the battlefield requires your own troops to be present as well. Not only is Apache gunship support probable in an operation like this, airstrikes from fixed wing aircraft most likely started the raid and are ongoing now because U.S. forces will be sending new targets as the appear.
President Trump has vowed to destroy ISIS completely and to do it fast. More U.S. troops are in Syria and Iraq, a new artillery base is being set up near Raqqa, Syria to support that battle and now the American military is airlifting foreign troops around the battlefield in their aircraft. That is significant in that the seriousness of the fight, and the tools used to fight with because there are not many more steps to go before it is considered a full blown invasion of U.S. forces. The United States’s morals will have to decide what is best now.