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A top US military commander has secretly entered Syria to monitor the activities of the so-called US-led anti-Daesh coalition in that country.

Head of US Central Command, General Joseph Votel, flew into northern Syria and spent nearly 11 hours there without getting permission from Damascus. The army general had meetings with what the US calls moderate rebels and sat with a group of Kurdish and Arab forces that enjoy Washington’s support. Votel is the highest-ranking US military official known to have entered Syria since 2014, when the so-called aerial campaign against Daesh began. Damascus has repeatedly slammed Washington’s unauthorized intervention in that country as illegal. The US-led coalition has largely failed to curb the spread of Daesh terrorists in Syria.