From ISIS To US-Backed "New Syrian Army" - "They Change Their Spots" Russia Alleges
According to a new Reuters report, the chief of the Russian General Staff has accused the United States of hosting a training facility for ISIS fighters in Syria along the Syria-Iraq border. Al-Tanf base on Syria's southeast side has been under the control of the US-backed "New Syrian Army" and their US special forces advisers since the area was captured from ISIS in August of 2016.
Russia has previously called the base a 100km wide “black hole” operated by the US wherein an assortment of unaccountable armed groups and militants can operate freely. That American troops have long been deployed there was previously confirmed through multiple photographs and videosreleased early in the summer of 2017 which showed US elite soldiers on active patrols with Syrian rebel factions associated with the Free Syrian Army (or FSA, elements of which were more recently renamed the New Syrian Army).
Photos above and below were made public last summer which shows ongoing training of "New Syrian Army" fighters by US military advisers. Russia now alleges ISIS members have sought the protection of the base and area under its control. Russia's top general said this week, "They are practically Islamic State. But after they are worked with, they change their spots and take on another name." The images were originally published through Hammurabi’s Justice News, a news outlet affiliated with Maghaweir al Thowra (MaT) - a faction which is the latest incarnation of the US-created New Syrian Army. Via the Long War Journal
And concerning the latest accusations of US-ISIS complicity in al-Tanf, Gen. Gerasimov further said the pattern continues: "The most important is that we have been seeing the militants advancing from there for several months. When the control [of the Syrian forces] loosened, as many as 350 militants left the area." He further said of the Russian-Syrian fight against ISIS in the area, "We took timely measures…they have suffered a defeat, these forces were destroyed. There were captives from these camps. It is clear that training is underway at those camps."
And he continued, "Instead of the New Syrian Army, mobile ISIS groups, like a jack in the box, carry out sabotage and terrorist attacks against Syrian troops and civilians from there." And though the pretext for the Tanf base’s creation was "the need to conduct operations against ISIS" - the rapid recent demise of ISIS proves that the Americans have ulterior motives, according to the Russian general.
Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has heightened his rhetoric of late regarding uninvited foreign forces operating on Syrian soil. He said last week in a televised interview which was subsequently posted to multiple Syrian official social media channels: "Those who work with foreigners against their army are traitors." Assad has also on multiple occasions promised to return all of natural Syria to the control of the Syrian government and army.
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