As various terrorist forces in Syria, including notorious al-Qaeda factions face total collapse, pockets of ISIS in Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor remain the biggest obstacle to the full liberation of Syrian territory.
In many cases foreign fighters and some Syrians who fought with terrorist groups have fled the country with Libya being a prime destination. Others have agreed to participate in government amnesty programs and have consequently laid down their arms. Others yet have atoned for their terrorist activities and pledged their loyal to government led anti-terrorist forces.
Rossiya-24 correspondent Eugeniy Poddubny recently interviewed a man called Asaad As-Salem, a man who was once loyal to a US trained proxy army in southern Syria known as Maghawir al-Thawra. The group was based at the notorious illegal US garrison in At-Tanf. The garrison which previous fired at many Syrian Arab Army and allied convoys has since June of this year, been cut off from the rest of the country by newly established lines of government control, thus making the base largely ineffective and without any tangible purpose.
Asaad As-Salem has disclosed important details on how the US turned a blind eye to fighters it armed and trained openly selling weapons to ISIS. He stated,
“When we learned that our unit’s leader was selling weapons to ISIS terrorists, we reported that to American base command, but following our report no action has been taken, the Americans only ramped up the support to the man who was appointed our commander and who was dealing with ISIS.
And he was selling all sorts of weapons our unit possessed, US-made small arms, M-16 and M-4 rifles, recoilless rifles, various machine guns and ammunition for them”.
“There’s no support for the local populace, the Americans are not interested in anything except pursuing their own goals. There’s a refugee camp, Rukhban, for example, located some 20 kilometres from the American military base.
Some of the people residing in the camp are relatives of those militants, collaborating with Americans, while the others are civilians from At-Tanf. There are no suitable living conditions there, children have nowhere to study, there’s no healthcare, the Americans support only those people who they use to pursue their own goals. All in all, I’ll tell you, they behave like invaders”.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has responded to the new information in the following way,
“Certainly those materials need thorough examination by competent organizations, including international organizations. These materials tell us that the American coalition, the so-called coalition, does not what was proclaimed, i.e. not fighting terrorists in the southern Syria, but pursues its own goals.
One of the goals is creation of their own sphere of influence in the country, exhausted in the fight against terrorism. In order to achieve that, according to witness reports, various means are being used, including direct transfer of foreign-made weapons to militants, as it happened at the At-Tanf base in the south of the country”.
Russia had repeatedly condemned US attacks on Syrian and allied forces from the At-Tanf base which have subsequently stopped starting from July of 2017.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.