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PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) made a secret trip to Syria last week to meet with American military officials and Kurdish fighters.
McCain made the unannounced trip during a multi-national swing that took him from Saudi Arabia to Turkey, during which he discussed ways to dismantle the Islamic State terror group’s hold over the Middle East.
“McCain’s visit was a valuable opportunity to assess dynamic conditions on the ground in Syria and Iraq,” a spokesman said in a statement.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the senator traveled to Kobani, a Syrian town that lies on the border with Turkey. The area has been controlled by Kurdish fighters for the past five years.
Kobani is less than 100 miles from Aleppo, which has been the scene of intense fighting in recent months.
It is believed that McCain is the first U.S. lawmaker to have visited the Kurdish-controlled north Syria since American special operations units joined the fight against ISIS.
After his Syrian visit, McCain reportedly met with Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, the nation’s capital city.
It was not McCain’s first visit to the war-torn nation. He made an unscheduled stop in the county in 2013, when he met with rebel leaders for several hours before returning to Turkey.
The senator has been a vocal supporter of Syrian rebels in recent years and blamed former President Barack Obama for creating the Syrian refugee crisis.