Sen. John McCain enters Syria illegally to meet with Kurds

Sen. John McCain made a trip to Syria last week, his office confirmed to CNN Wednesday.

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Julie Tarallo, a spokeswoman for McCain, said he made the official but unannounced visit to northern Syria as the campaign to take ISIS' de facto capital in Raqqa unfolds.

"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," Tarallo said.

Calling the visit an opportunity "to assess dynamic conditions on the ground" there, his office praised President Donald Trump for requesting a review of the US strategy to defeat ISIS.

McCain has illegally crossed into Syria before, visiting Islamist rebels in northern Syria during the third year of this conflict.

McCain has argued for more aggressive military involvement in the Syrian Civil War.

This was his first visit to the war-torn nation since 2013.

The Wall Street Journal was the first to report McCain's trip to Syria, citing unnamed officials who said the senator spoke with US military members and Kurdish fighters there.

McCain's trip came weeks after Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Hawaii Democrat, made a secret trip to Syria as well. Upon her return, Gabbard said she met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and her office eventually said she would personally pay for her trip after its funding came under scrutiny.

McCain's office said the trip was an official "codel," or congressional delegation trip, meaning the US government sponsored and paid for the senator's travel.



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