Bullit Marquez / AP
It's been a busy week, mostly preoccupied with James Comey's Senate testimony on Thursday and the subsequent updates. Here are the top defense stories you might have missed this week:
1. U.S.-backed Kurdish forces have entered Raqqa, the de facto capital of ISIS. ISIS "losing Raqqa is the beginning of the end for Daesh," via The Guardian.
2. Trump-Saudi $110 billion weapons deal revealed to Defense News: "Previously slim on specifics, includes seven THAAD missile defense batteries, over 100,000 air-to-ground munitions and billions of dollars' worth of new aircraft, according to a White House document obtained by Defense News and authenticated by a second source."
3. The U.S. vs. the Kurds: This September, the U.S. will oppose the Kurdish region's decision to hold a referendum on independence. A referendum is necessary because "Iraqi Kurds currently enjoy almost total autonomy, but tensions with the Baghdad government remain over control of oil reserves." More via RadioFreeEurope.
4. American military casualties abroad. Three U.S. soldiers were killed in a Taliban attack in Eastern Afghanistan. The Afghanistan soldier also wounded another U.S. soldier, per The Hill. Trump was "following the emerging situation in Afghanistan."
5. The U.S. helps Philippines in fight against ISIS. After recently threatening to kick U.S. military out of the region, the Philippines government is now accepting "technical support" from the U.S. as Islamic militants to continue to terrorize their country. "Nearly 140 militants and 60 government troops have been killed the fighting." More from The Atlantic.