Russia claims ISIS took advantage of the US exclusion/occupation zone in southern Syria in staging its recent counter-offensive
The US support for terrorists is the main obstacle for routing the Islamic State terrorist grouping (outlawed in Russia) in Syria, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said on Wednesday.
"US colleagues’ support for terrorists and pandering to them rather than terrorists’ combat efficiency is the main obstacle for completing the rout of the ISIL [the former name of the Islamic State]," the general said.
Russia’s Aerospace Force is ready to totally halt any actions of the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria passed off by the United States as ‘coincidences’, he went on.
The general told reporters about several offensives against Syrian government troops launched from the 50-kilometer area around the locality of al-Tanf near the Jordanian border, where "a US military mission" is headquartered.
"If US officials view such actions as unforeseen ‘contingencies’, Russia’s Aerospace Force is ready to begin the complete elimination of such ‘coincidences’ in the area of their control," he said.
"In all appearances, success of the Syrian army with the support of the Russian Aerospace Forces, as well as a swift liberation of Euphrates River Valley from IS (Islamic State, outlawed in Russia) runs counter to plans of the US colleagues," said the major general.
Attack on government forces
Terrorist attacks over government forces in Syria on September 28 were made from a zone controlled by the US military, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.
Overnight into September 28, dozens of off-road vehicles carrying about 300 Islamic State (IS, a terror organization outlawed in Russia) militants advanced towards the town of al-Qaryatayn, Homs Governorate, from the community of Rukban, he said. Notably, militants successfully skirted all covert posts of the Syrian army, "having direct coordinates at hand that can be acquired only through aerial reconnaissance studied by specialists and then carefully presented for execution of terrorist sabotages," Konashenkov said. Another IS unit carried out a series of coordinated attacks over other Syrian army posts located along the strategically important Palmyra - Deir ez-Zor highway.
"One thing unites the specified terror attacks: All of them were carried out from a 50km zone around the community of At Tanf on the Syrian-Jordanian border, the one where ‘the US military mission’ is stationed and that the Syrian forces chasing terrorists were kept off at gunpoint by Americans," Konashenkov stressed.
To all appearances, the success of the Syrian army with the support of the Russian air task force, and also the swift liberation of the Euphrates River valley from the IS run counter to the plans of US colleagues, the spokesman said.
"A terrorists’ attempt to carry out an attack coordinated by its time and place in the rear of the Syrian troops at the end of last week served as a new example of this. Overnight to September 28, about 300 ISIL gunmen advanced in a dozen of cross country vehicles towards the town of Al-Karatein in the province of Homs from the settlement of Rukban," the Russian general said.
According to the general, a large detachment of terrorists successfully bypassed all hidden posts of the Syrian troops in the communities of Harbat Ash-Shkhemi and Al-Basiri "not due to fortune but because they had completely exact coordinates that can be obtained only thanks to air reconnaissance data processed by specialists" and transferred to terrorists for carrying out terrorist acts.
"At the dawn, this terrorist detachment attempted to seize the dominant terrain around the settlement of al-Karatein," the general noted.
According to Russia’s Defense Ministry, "on the same day, ISIL terrorists carried out a series of coordinated attacks on other posts of Syrian troops located along the strategically important Palmyra - Deir ez-Zor road, which is used for supplies for the grouping of Syrian forces in the Euphrates River valley and for the delivery of humanitarian aid."
As the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said, the Syrian army had to take considerable efforts to neutralize mobile IS groups on the road and liberate populated areas seized by the terrorists.
"The above-mentioned terrorists’ attacks have one thing in common: all of them were conducted from the 50-km zone around the community of Al-Tanf on the Syrian-Jordanian border. This is the zone where the US military mission is located and where Americans did not let Syrian forces chasing terrorists literally come within a firing range of it," the Russian general said.
"If the US side considers such operations as unforeseen occurrences, then the Russian air task force is ready to start completely destroying all such occurrences in its controlled zone," the spokesman said.