From AP, with thanks to EPG:
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Hundreds of U.S. Marines pushed through a lawless region on the Syrian frontier Tuesday after battling past well-armed militants fighting from basements, rooftops and sandbag bunkers. Insurgents kidnapped the provincial governor as a bargaining chip.
As many as 100 insurgents were killed in the first 48 hours of Operation Matador, as American troops cleared villages along the meandering Euphrates then crossed in rafts and on a pontoon bridge, the U.S. command said. Many of the dead remained trapped under rubble after attack planes and helicopter gunships pounded their hideouts….
At the Pentagon, Marine Lt. Gen. James T. Conway, director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters Tuesday that the assault in the northern Jazirah Desert had run into well-equipped and trained fighters.
“There are reports that these people are in uniforms, in some cases are wearing protective vests, and there’s some suspicion that their training exceeds what we have seen with other engagements further east,” he said…