2014 American rescue mission in Syria
The 2014 American rescue mission in Syria was carried out in order to rescue two dozen foreign hostages, two of whom were journalists, who were being held by the Islamic State. Though no soldiers were killed, the mission failed to locate and rescue the hostages.
|2014 American rescue mission in Syria|
|Part of the Syrian Civil War and|
the Military intervention against ISIL
|Commanders and leaders|
|Barack Obama||Abu Omar al-Shishani (Field commander in Syria)|
|Two dozen special forces operators||Unknown|
|Casualties and losses|
1 U.S. soldier wounded|
1 Jordanian soldier wounded (unconfirmed)
|5–8 militants killed|
On July 4, 2014, shortly after midnight, U.S. air strikes were conducted against an ISIS military base camp known as the "Osama bin Laden Camp". At the same time, two dozen special operations members parachuted from helicopters near an Islamic State (IS) building in search for high-valued prisoners. After landing on the ground, the soldiers blocked the main road towards Raqqa and ambushed the prison. However, no prisoners were found in the building. They then conducted house-to-house searches in Uqayrishah. At this time, IS forces from Raqqa started to arrive and a three-hour firefight ensued. During the fighting, militants also directed RPG fire at U.S. aircraft, but missed. U.S. forces then recognized that the hostages were no longer at the site and abandoned the rescue attempt. It is estimated that between five and eight IS militants were killed. Later, it was reported the hostages had been relocated 24 hours before the attempted rescue. It remained unclear whether the operation failed due to incorrect intelligence or if IS forces had been alerted in advance of the mission.
More than a month after the operation, an American journalist, James Foley, was executed. In the following weeks and months, American journalist, Steven Sotloff, and aid worker, Peter Kassig, as well as British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, were all executed. IS held British journalist John Cantlie, who they used for ransom purposes. This was considered to be a “flawless operation” by the Defense Secretary at the time even though they failed to extract the hostages.
A Defense Department official commented on the failure of this mission that, "We're not sure why they were moved... By the time we got there, it was too late... a matter of hours, perhaps a day or two." since the American hostages were moved from their initial location. Defense officials were openly frustrated with the transparency of the administration regarding information of this mission. The National Security Council spokeswoman expressed that they had, "Never intended to disclose this operation". This issue is extremely concerning and was taken into consideration when President Obama reiterated to Member States at the Security Council that, "foreign fighters were likely to return to their home countries to carry out attacks." Research found that these extremists are returning to their homeland twenty to thirty percent of the time. 
- Ruth Sherlock and Carol Malouf in Erbil and Josie Ensor (21 August 2014). "The failed US mission to try and rescue James Foley from Islamic State terrorists". Telegraph.co.uk. London. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
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