Operation Holiday Express brings gifts to US troops in Syria

Operation Holiday Express brings gifts to US troops in Syria
In this Monday, Dec. 23, 2019, photo, a U.S. soldier carries Christmas gifts from a helicopter to deliver to his comrades on a base near the al-Omar oilfield in eastern Syria. It's an operation is called Holiday Express - in addition to delivering presents, the U.S.-led coalition forces brought a U.S. military band to play Christmas carols and music to several bases in eastern Syria. (Source: AP Photo/Farid Abdul-Wahid/AP)

SHADDADEH, Syria (AP) - Hundreds of American troops based in Syria have received Christmas gifts thanks to Operation Holiday Express.

This year, Santa’s sleigh and reindeer were apparently swapped for a workhorse CH-47 Chinook helicopter.

But U.S.-led coalition forces from across the border in neighboring Iraq still donned jolly red caps while delivering the gifts.

The Associated Press was on hand as a military band was also flown in to play Christmas tunes for the troops Monday.

President Donald Trump has said some of the roughly 1,000 American service members in Syria will stay to secure oil fields from any resurgence by the Islamic State group.

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