Russian Lieutenant-General (two stars) Valery Asapov, one of the senior Russian military advisers working on the ground in Syria, was fatally wounded at a command outpost manned by Syrian troops while assisting commanders in the liberation of the city of Deir al-Zor. So far, he is the highest-ranking Russian officer to be killed in the Syrian campaign.
According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, the death of the general is the price Russia was forced to pay for America’s hypocritical policy. The deputy minister said Moscow wants Washington’s statements on fighting terrorism not to be at odds with its actions on the ground.
The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has accused the United States of supplying Syrian terrorists with sensitive information that allegedly allowed them to surround a detachment of Russian military police on September 18. According to the officials, the US leaked the data in order to impede an offensive by the Russian-supported Syrian troops in Deir ez-Zor.
The Russian MoD believes that US security services orchestrated an al-Nusra Front offensive near the city of Hama in the Idlib province, which was launched in an attempt to thwart the Syrian Army’s Deir ez-Zor operation. The Ministry reported that the Russian servicemen deployed to the area to monitor ceasefire in the de-escalation zone were specifically targeted in the attack.
The Russian MoD published aerial images which show US Army special forces equipment located north of the Syrian town of Deir ez-Zor, where Islamic State (IS) militants are deployed. This evidence clearly reveals US support for IS. The images were taken from September 8 – 12 in areas controlled by IS, also showed US Humvee armored vehicles used by the US Army’s special forces.
US and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) feel safe in the IS-controlled territory. As of September 26, the US Defense Department has been silent on the evidence.
There has been a lot of talk about the United States supporting terrorists in the Middle East, from photos released from abandoned IS hideouts with US made weapons, to reports of collaborating with IS in Syrian airstrikes. Some reports say the US created IS. As The New American has documented extensively, official US intelligence documents show that multiple Western and Islamic governments allied with Washington, have also supported IS, al-Qaeda, and other terror groups in Syria.
Last September, Abu Al Ezz, an al-Nusra unit commander, claimed the group has been delivered US weapons by third party governments that Washington supports. “We have the American-made TOW missiles, and the situation in some areas is under control,” Al Ezz added in an interview with Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper. When asked if the TOW missiles were initially intended for Jabhat Al-Nusra or if the group obtained them from the moderate Free Syrian Army, the jihadist clarified: “No, the missiles were given to us directly.”
According to The Washington Post, under a “three-year-old program initiated by the United States, rebel groups that have been vetted by the CIA receive support in the form of salaries, light arms and ammunition, and limited quantities of anti-tank missiles.” The CIA’s Train and Equip program for so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels was reported to restart in early April after being frozen in February of this year.
Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a member of both the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, has proposed the HR 608 “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” that would prohibit any US assistance to terrorist organizations in Syria as well as to any organization working directly with them. The bill includes a ban on military sales and other forms of military cooperation with other countries that provide arms or financing to those terrorists and their collaborators.
The legislation was put forward after the lawmaker had made a secret trip to Syria to find evidence first hand that the US was supporting terrorists. After returning to the US, Representative Gabbard appeared on CNN to claim that the US intervened in that conflict on behalf of terror groups.
The legislation has a companion bill introduced in the Senate by US Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky). The S. 532 “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” would also prohibit official US aid to any individual or group affiliated with, associated with, or cooperating with any of the proscribed terror organizations. The legislation bans any funds to state sponsors of those groups, which would ensnare a number of ostensible US government “allies.”
The US-backed SDF forces are rushing to seize as much land in the Deir-ez-Zor province as possible. The forces loyal to President Assad have crossed the Euphrates River in eastern Syria, a supposed frontier of operations with West-backed forces. They are advancing. Anything would do to gain time and delay the Syrian pro-government forces’ offensive. This policy is fraught with a risk of an accidental war. The surrogate forces of the Russia-backed Syrian government and the pro-US SDF could definitely come into conflict, particularly if they are fighting over territory that IS had previously.
Now the US has a lot of explaining to do, first of all to its own citizens. It has been waging an information war against Russia for quite some time. The effort has involved the famous actors and leading businessmen, whose names are always in the spotlight. Now is the time for the United States government to answer some very difficult questions regarding its operations in Syria, its goals and who exactly does America side with to achieve them.