This version of the forever war in Iraq and Syria was built around the work done by local U.S. allies. The fight against ISIS was America’s, but it was also being fought by Syrians, Kurds, and Iraqis—a U.S. strategy known as “by, with and through.” It meant that local troops carried out ground fighting in battles drawn up by American war planners. It meant that they received arms, training and logistical support from the U.S. military and were backed by U.S. air strikes. Crucially, it also meant that they were getting help from special operations forces, the U.S. military’s most elite units, who work in the shadows around the world to carry out difficult and sensitive missions.
Read the full story and more in The Atlantic.