Thursday, 20 September, 2018

As IS shrinks, end game for US in Syria gets murky

Russia accuses Kurdish forces of giving ISIL amnesty Syrian regime may attack Kurdish-led forces again in Deir al-Zor: SDF
Ellis Copeland | 11 February, 2018, 12:33

According to these sources, in a letter addressed to the United Nations, with a copy to its Security Council, the Syrian Foreign Ministry denounced that Washington's new aggression represents a war crime against humanity.

The US maintains about 2,000 troops in Syria, who mostly work with the over 50,000-strong Syrian Democratic Forces, a mix of Kurdish and Arab fighters who have been the primary US-backed force fighting ISIS in Syria.

"We demand [that the global community] condemn this massacre and hold the coalition responsible for it", Syrian state news agency (SANA) reported, citing a letter sent by the foreign ministry to the UN.

"We know they were pro-regime forces", he said, "Iranian, Assad, Russian, mercenaries, I can't tell you".

According to Liveuamap, a site that maps the conflict in Syria, the town of Khusham near Deir ez-Zor is actually held by the Syrian regime while the nearby Conoco-Tabiya gas plant is several kilometers from the line that separates the SDF from the regime.

"After 20 to 30 artillery and tank rounds landed within 500 meters of the SDF headquarters location, Syrian Democratic Forces supported by the Coalition targeted the aggressors with a combination of air and artillery strikes", the statement said. No US forces were injured during the attack according to reports from multiple news outlets.

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"In defence of coalition and partner forces, the coalition conducted strikes against attacking forces to repel the act of aggression", it added, asserting its "non-negotiable right to act in self-defence".

Over 500 pro-government fighter armed with tanks, mortars, artillery and multiple-launch rocket systems carried out the attack, according to an unnamed United States military personnel. One SDF fighter was wounded in the incident, the official said. There were no American casualties. The head of the Britain-based monitoring group, Rami Abdel Rahman, said the aim of the attack appeared to be the capture of a key oil field and a major gas plant in an SDF-held area. In June 2017, a Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet shot down a Syrian SU-22 that had attacked Syrian Democratic Forces.

We review the key events in Syria, including Damascus accusing Washington of a war crime after a coalition airstrike reportedly killed scores of pro-government fighters, more than 70 people killed in Eastern Ghouta and Turkey resuming airstrikes on Afrin after a brief lull.

What does Syrian media say?

"I believe that they are, right now, west of the river", he said, referring to the Euphrates River that has served as a so-called "deconfliction" border between Russian-backed Syrian government forces and US -backed SDF fighting to rid the country of Islamic State fighters.

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