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2014 American rescue mission in Syria
Part of Syrian Civil War and 2014 American intervention in Syria
Date4 July 2014 (2014-07-04)
LocationUqayrishah, near Ar-Raqqah, Syria
Result Operational failure; eventual execution of several hostages
Commanders and leaders
United States Barack Obama Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Units involved
Delta Force[1] Unknown
two dozen special forces operators[1] Unknown
Casualties and losses
  • None killed
  • 1 U.S. soldier wounded[1]
  • 1 Jordanian soldier wounded (unconfirmed)[1]
At least 5 fighters killed[1]
Unknown wounded

The 2014 American rescue mission in Syria was a mission to rescue two dozen foreigners, including two American journalists,[2] held by the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) during the Syrian Civil War, U.S. forces launched an operation in an attempt to rescue them.[1][3]

The operation

On 4 July 2014, after midnight, U.S. air strikes were conducted against the ISIS military base known as the "Osama bin Laden Camp". At the same time, two dozen special operations members parachuted from helicopters near an ISIS building for high-valued prisoners. After landing on the ground, the soldiers blocked the main road towards Ar-Raqqah and assaulted the prison. However, no prisoners were found in the building. They then conducted house-to-house searches in Uqayrishah. At this time, ISIS forces from Ar-Raqqah started to arrive and a three-hour firefight ensued.[1] During the fighting, militants also directed RPG fire at U.S. aircraft, but were unsuccessful.[4] Eventually, U.S. forces came to the conclusion that the hostages were no longer at the site and abandoned the rescue attempt. At least 5 ISIS fighters were killed and a U.S soldier was wounded. Jordanian forces were also reportedly involved in the operation with one Jordanian soldier also wounded, but this was not confirmed. Later it was reported the hostages had been moved 24 hours before the attempted rescue.[1] It remained unclear whether the operation failed due to bad intelligence or whether ISIS forces were alerted in advance of the mission.[5]


Over a month after the operation, the American journalist, James Foley, was executed.[1] In the following weeks and months, the other American, journalist Steven Sotloff,[6] as well as British aid workers David Haines[2] and Alan Henning, were all executed. American Peter Kassig was shown in a video as the next intended victim.[7] ISIS also held British journalist John Cantlie, who they used for propaganda purposes.[8]

The disclosure of the failed hostage rescue attempt of James Foley and Steven Joel Sotloff has been criticized by Congressman Buck McKeon, among others, claiming that carrying out similar S. military operations in the future would face greater risk. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said that the operation was disclosed by the White House after consultation with the Pentagon and because news media were preparing to leak the story otherwise.[9]

See also



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