The single fact which make the latest offensive by ISIS eastern Syria so frightening and serious is that the way for it was paved by the US-led “anti-ISIS” coalition.
Before discussing this, let me repeat a point I made for The Duran previously, the truth of which as a Syrian in Syria who is an actual witness of this war I can personally vouch for
In Syria fighters call themselves the “Free Syrian Army” or “Islamic state fighters” or Daesh or by any other name that suits them. There is nothing “magical” about this. It is just a kaleidoscope of names intended to cause confusion. In reality it is always the same people calling themselves by these different names.
The US and its allies of course know this. They keep up this game of names so that they can go on pretending that there are “moderates” in Syria who they can support in place of the terrorists they actually support, and that these so-called “moderates” are fit to form a transitional government in place of the legitimate Syrian government and can also be persuaded to fight Daesh. In Syria nobody is fooled by any of this.
The truth is that the Syrian people are being slaughtered by cold-blooded mercenaries. They may call themselves the “Free Syrian Army,” “Ahrar Al Sham”, “Ahlo Al Sonna”, “Jaish Al Esalm” or any of a myriad of other names all of which however simply designate factions affiliated with Al-Qaeda’s local franchise the Al Nusra front. They are however always the same cold-blooded mercenaries pouring into Syria from Turkey paid for the Gulf Arab states to commit aggression upon Syria’s people
The organisation that is now most commonly called “ISIS”, but which has at various times in its history called itself by different names, is obviously a part of this.
As I have said previously, its phoney “Islamic State” was intentionally created to draw like a magnet Takfiri fighters to Syria in order to get them to wage war on the Syrian people and to break the Axis of Resistance which brings together the people and states of the Middle East (Syria, Hezbollah, Iran and now increasingly Iraq) who resist US-Israeli-Saudi power
The “Islamic State” has been designed to attract Takfiri fighters from all over the world to join the war against Syria. That way the war to destroy Syria and break the Axis of Resistance is fought with no shortage of fanatical recruits. The war is sponsored and funded by Saudi Arabia, the true factory of Wahhabism, as well as by countries like Qatar and Turkey.
That this is the case is shown by the fact that whenever the Syrian Arab Army shows pictures of dead ISIS terrorists they turn out to be mostly from Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Tunisia and other places, not from Syria.
That there is a continuity between the fighters who are now called ISIS and the Takfiri fighters who established themselves in the area since the start of the war is easily shown by looking at what has happened in Deir El-Zour.
This area has been under attack from Takfiri fighters since the very start of the war. At that time they did not call themselves “ISIS” or whatever they call themselves now. They called themselves the “Free Syrian Army”, and later “Jabhat Al-Nusra” (ie. Al-Qaeda). Today they call themselves the “Islamic State” (ie. ISIS) but they are and always have been the same cold-blooded terrorists, united under the same slogan – “tell these pro-government people, we are their slaughterers!” – that they have always been.
Once these terrorists established themselves in this area it took them no time to act on their boasts. They began their reign of terror by murdering two teachers who had come to teach in Deir El-Zour from the coastal regions of Syria’s west (Syrian law required teachers from the more developed regions of western Syria to spend time teaching children in places like Deir El-Zour).
This is how these criminals behave wherever in Syria they establish themselves, regardless of what name they call themselves by. It is exactly how they behave in ISIS’s phoney capital Al-Raqqa, and in many other places.
The US-led “anti-ISIS” coalition for the first time actively assisted ISIS in this area on 7th December 2015 when it bombed a Syrian military camp in Deir El-Zour, killing (according to the Syrian Foreign Ministry) three Syrian soldiers, and destroying weapons, stores, and equipment.
In September 2016 Israeli and US air strikes took place against Syrian army positions, by the Israelis in the Golan Heights, by the US on 17th September 2016 in Deir El-Zour. Whilst it is the US air strike which has attracted the most attention, the fact the two strikes happened so close together suggests more than coincidence.
The US-led “anti-ISIS” coalition airstrike of 17th September 2016 struck a key Syrian military position in the Thardeh mountains, which protected the Syrian forces’ key air base in the area. It killed 83 Syrian soldiers and destroyed vehicles, weapons stores, radar stations, tanks, and other armoured vehicles.
The air strike was immediately followed by an ISIS attack which overran the position, enabling ISIS to break through to the road leading through the Al- Therdah Mountain which the terrorists had been trying – until then unsuccessful – to reach since 2014.
Moreover the US-led “anti-ISIS” coalition has also targeted bridges and power stations in Deir El-Zour in what seems to be an attempt to paralyse the Syrian forces there, hampering the Syrian air force’s ability to carry out air strikes on ISIS positions during the night (by making it impossible for Syrian forces on the ground to distinguish themselves from the Takfiri fighters) and making it more difficult for them to communicate with other Syrian forces elsewhere.
Furthermore on 8th January, 2017 the US-led “anti- ISIS” coalition carried out a ground operation in eastern Syria, with US Special Forces landing there by helicopter, supposedly aimed at capturing ISIS commanders. Colonel John Dorrian, the spokesman for the US-led “anti-ISIS” coalition, has confirmed that the raid took place, but has declined to provide details or say whether any ISIS commanders were in fact captured.
Some days after this raid ISIS terrorists attacked Deir El-Zour province on a far bigger scale than they had ever done before. Not only were they more numerous but they appeared better organised and better armed than they had been at any other time. Moreover they seemed to have a detailed knowledge of the defence positions of the Syrian army.
Inevitably that makes one wonder what the real purpose of the raid actually was.
The US-led “anti-ISIS” coalition has released no pictures of ISIS captives or of ISIS dead caused by this raid. All one can say for sure is that after the raid ISIS seemed stronger and better organised, and in possession of more intelligence, than ever before.
During the US election Hillary Clinton spoke about US policy towards ISIS in this way
We’re hoping that within the year we’ll be able to push ISIS out of Iraq and then, you know, really squeeze them in Syria.
It is the results of this policy which we are now seeing in Deir El-Zour.
This escalation is going to cost the Syrians and the Syrian Arab Army many more martyrs. All this whilst the world looks away, its gaze transfixed by the peace conference in Astana.
In reality the true masters of these armed factions continue to dream of reversing the Syrian, Iranian and Russian victory in Syria, regardless of whatever the negotiators in Astana say to each other. They are planning to do this by capturing Deir El-Zour, thereby bringing the border between Syria and Iraq under the terrorists’ control, cutting this region off from the rest of Syria.
Deir El-Zour is a vital strategic point in this war. It is a key link binding together the geography of the Axis of Resistance, which extends all the way from southern Lebanon on the Mediterranean coast, through Damascus further inland, and then through to Baghdad, and on to Tehran.
That is why the USA, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are so anxious for the terrorists to take it.
The Syrian Arab Army, supported by the Russian air force, will however make sure that the task is not easy for them.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.