A major move to cut off the US in southern Syria from taking more territory
The Syrian Army has reached the Iraqi border, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense.
While we don't have a lot of details yet, here's what we can say: this is a brilliant move if true. Not exactly a checkmate yet, but definitely a check on US ambitions in southern Syria.
In essence, as Americans were busy bombing small Syrian groups entering their declared exclusion zone via the main road, a separate Syrian force staged a lightning-quick advance through roadless desert, well to the east of the "deconfliction" zone enveloping the Americans.
If the US forces are not cut off from ISIS they no longer have an excuse to continue occupying this part of Syria. (Or will they insist they get to leapfrog over the Syrian army?)
Russians are saying it will be them and the Syrians -- rather than the Americans -- who will be advancing along the Iraqi border towards al-Bukamal (the major border crossing in the Euphrates valley coveted by the Pentagon):
Russian officers also accused the US of hindering the Syrian war effort against ISIS, by blocking its military from opening a new front against the group:
“The coalition air forces and the strongholds of the forces of New Syrian Army have blocked the way of the government forces, tasked with defeating IS groups.”
“This is a violation of the sovereign right of Syria to protect it borders."
There is a video of the Russian briefing, but so far not yet translated (except for an incomplete summary at RT).
UPDATE -- Apparently in sync with the Syrian army move south, Iraqi forces likewise advanced against ISIS from their side and met on the border. Thus Syria has not just reached the formal Iraqi border, but actually re-established an actual link to Iraq:
UPDATE #2: We now have the video of the briefing at Russian MoD with English subs. The most relevant part starts at 15:27 into the clip:
The Syrians advanced 184 kilometers in a single day!
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