U.S. moved pilot rescue aircraft closer to battlefield

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WASHINGTON — Defense officials say the U.S. has moved search-and-rescue aircraft closer to the battlefields in recent days in Syria and Iraq.

The move is intended to bolster the confidence of American and allied pilots that they won’t suffer the fate of the downed Jordanian fighter captured and killed by his Islamic State captors in Syria.

Three defense officials said Thursday that U.S. search-and-rescue aircraft were moved into northern Iraq in recent days to put them in better position to respond to the downing of a U.S. or allied aircraft in Syria or Iraq. The nearest rescue crews had been based in Kuwait, one official said.

The officials requested anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss a move that has not been announced.