- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 30, 2014

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sent a highly detailed memo to National Security Adviser Susan Rice in early October that blasted the White House’s strategy in Syria.

A senior U.S. official told CNN Thursday that Mr. Hagel wrote a blunt assessment of U.S. policy in the region “expressing concern about overall Syria strategy,” the network reported. The interview corroborates initial reporting on the existence of the memo by The New York Times.

Mr. Hagel’s memo conveyed to Ms. Rice that the U.S. needs “to have a sharper view of what to do about the Assad regime,” CNN reported.

U.S. and coalition forces have concentrated efforts to destroy the Islamic State group in recent weeks on the Syrian border town of Kobani. U.S. Central Command said last week it has conducted 135 airstrikes in the area.

“Combined with continued resistance to ISIL on the ground, indications are that these strikes have slowed ISIL advances into the city, killed hundreds of their fighters and destroyed or damaged scores of pieces of ISIL combat equipment and fighting positions,” Central Command said in a statement released Oct. 23.

On Thursday, a batch of Iraqi peshmerga fighters entered Kobani by crossing through Turkey to assist local Kurds battling Islamic State, The Associated Press reported. Roughly 150 Kurdish troops are expected to join the fight.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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