Thu Feb 23, 2017 1:57AM
US senator John McCain speaks on the first day of the 53rd Munich Security Conference (MSC) at the Bayerischer Hof hotel in Munich, southern Germany, on February 17, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
US senator John McCain speaks on the first day of the 53rd Munich Security Conference (MSC) at the Bayerischer Hof hotel in Munich, southern Germany, on February 17, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

US Republican Senator John McCain secretly visited war-ravaged Syria last weekend.

A spokeswoman for McCain confirmed Wednesday earlier reports that the lawmaker, who c hairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, made a visit to the Syrian town of Kobani.

“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 Raqqah,” said the spokeswoman.

The Republican senator has been one the most staunch critics of US policies towards the Syrian crisis, adopted under former President Barack Obama.

The visit to Kobani, located on the northern border with Turkey, was made as US military officials were evaluating ways to allegedly tackle the Daesh Takfiri group.

“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 US strategy and plans to defeat ISIL,” McCain’s spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile, the White House was awaiting a strategy by the Pentagon to defeat Daesh (ISIL).

“It will address ISIS globally, and it is not just a [Department of Defense] plan,” said Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis. “We’re charged with leading the development of the plan, but it absolutely calls upon the capabilities of other departments.”

The US and its allies have been conducting air raids against what are said to be Daesh terrorists’ positions inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate. Analysts have assessed the strikes as unsuccessful as they have led to civilian deaths and failed to counter terrorism.

For nearly six years, Syria has been fighting foreign-sponsored militancy. According to a UN estimation in August last year, more than 400,000 people had been killed in the crisis until then.