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One face of the war in Syria that Americans don't often see is the U.S. Army trauma surgeon, standing in the midday sun on the outskirts of Raqqa, taking a brief break from her near-constant duty in the operating room treating Syrians whose limbs have been shattered by bombs and booby traps.The doctor is a lieutenant colonel serving with U.S. special operations forces, and under the ground rules for my four-day trip to Syria in February, I'm not allowed to use her name. The lieutenant colonel is part of the Syria mission that U.S President Donald Trump seems determined to end. Reflecting on her and the scores of other U.S. soldiers I've met on three trips to Syria since 2016, I can't help thinking that there's something about this mission – which has been low cost and high success, according to commanders – that President Trump doesn't understand.So before U.S. forces start coming home, here are a few portraits from my notebook, sketched during my trip to Syria two months ago. Let's start with the on-the-ground commander of U.S. forces inside Syria.
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