Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) secretly visited the Kurdish-held region of Syria during a trip to the Middle East last weekend to meet with United States military officials, The Wall Street Journal reported.
A spokeswoman for McCain later confirmed the trip in a statement to The Hill.
“Senator McCain traveled to northern Syria last week to visit U.S. forces deployed there and to discuss the counter-ISIL campaign and ongoing operations to retake Raqqa,” the spokeswoman said, using an alternate acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“Senator McCain’s visit was a valuable opportunity to assess dynamic conditions on the ground in Syria and Iraq. President Trump has rightly ordered a review of the U.S. strategy and plans to defeat ISIL.”
McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee and was an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s Syria policy, traveled to the town of Kobane, which sits on the Syrian side of the Turkish-Syrian border.
The town in 2014 was under siege by ISIS forces, which were successfully pushed out of the city by the Syrian Kurds, also know as the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
McCain’s trip comes as the U.S. military analyzes various options to oust ISIS from its Syrian stronghold in Raqqa, which it has held since January of 2014.