January 22, 2018 / 6:36 PM / in a year

U.S. aid chief makes unannounced visit to Syrian city of Raqqa

WASHINGTON, Jan 22 (Reuters) - The U.S. government’s aid chief, Mark Green, made an unannounced visit to Raqqa in Syria on Monday, the most senior U.S. civilian official to visit the war-struck city months after American-backed militia retook the area from Islamic State.

Green was accompanied by the head of the U.S. Central Command General Joseph Votel, as the United States ramps up efforts to stabilize areas once held by Islamic State to prevent them from falling back into the hands of other militants.

“We’re at the point where people really do want to go home so this is the moment to seize,” Green, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), said in a phone interview with Reuters after the visit. (Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; editing by Grant McCool)

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