Before Failed Rescue, US Was Asking Around About Hostages

US Troops Didn't Find Them, Burned the Jail

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was quick to praise the failed Syria rescue as a “flawless operation.” The facts surrounding the operation show that it was anything but.

First of all, ISIS knew they were coming. Everybody and their brother knew the US was coming, because they didn’t make it any sort of secret.

Sources say that Americans were openly wandering around Antakya, Turkey, just across the border from the ISIS capital of Raqqa, and asking if anybody knew where the US hostages were being held.

The Americans were looking for their hostages and desperately looking for any information,” noted one person familiar with the situation. After that, ISIS knew the operation was coming, and moved the hostages out of the Raqqa jail.

The troops launched the raid anyhow, despite it being pretty obvious by that point everyone knew it was going to happen. They showed up at the jail, and finding the hostages weren’t there, just started attacking ISIS targets nearby. Then they set the jail on fire for good measure and left.

The US says one soldier was wounded in the fight and “many” ISIS were killed. US officials defended the operation, saying they had a “good case for where they might be” that simply didn’t pan out.

As it turns out, they were right about where the hostages were, but in finding it out, they tipped ISIS off to the whole thing and got the hostages relocated.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.