On February 2, the Pentagon chief announced that US Special Forces had completed a counter-terrorism operation in Syria, controlled by the US Central Command, stressing that “the mission was successful” and “there were no US casualties.” As it turned out, the target of this operation near the town of Atme in the Syrian province of Idlib, close to the Turkish border, was the leader of the terrorist group ISIS (banned in the Russian Federation), Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Quraishi. Damascus cannot yet confirm US reports of the killing of al-Quraishi, the chairman of the Syrian parliament’s international committee, Butrus al-Marjan, said on February 3.
Only blatantly unhealthy individuals would accept the American military establishment’s bold assessment of the results of the “operation,” since no operation can be considered successful when civilians are killed in the process! Associated Press reported on more than ten deaths, which was further confirmed by the White Helmets, who pointed out that six children and four women were among the victims!
Another example of the US military failures is the incident from a week before in the same Kurdish-American zone of influence in northwestern Syria, in the city of Al-Hasakah, where a terrorist group stormed the Al-Sinaa prison on January 23. It is noteworthy that the terrorists managed to form a storm unit of 200 militants right under the noses of US officials. As a result, they released some 800 (!!!) militants, who subsequently escaped and dispersed among the local population. It is also worth noting that several thousand Kurds, led by “Pentagon specialists” and supported by US armored vehicles, aircraft and US special forces, were unable to recapture the Al-Sinaa prison from the remaining militants for several days. In the act of utter desperation, the Americans called in British special forces for a decisive storming of the prison, ultimately confirming the US military’s lack of ability to even suppress the remaining militants.
Eventually, on the night of January 26, US aircraft struck the prison building and its surroundings, killing many ISIS militants. There were reportedly many ISIS militants among the prisoners, including minors, both from Syria and other countries. In addition, not only militants, but also their relatives, women and children had been kept in this prison “for their links with ISIS.”
As a result of massive strikes by the US Air Force, including on neighboring residential areas, more than 40,000 civilians fearing for their safety were forced to flee their homes and move to safe areas under the control of the Syrian government. According to Hasan Khalil, head of the regional administration, the province of Al-Hasakah in northeastern Syria has suffered extensive damage inflicted the US Air Force, particularly to the academic buildings of the Technical University. According to Arab News, there were civilian casualties.
The UN is concerned about reports of civilian deaths in US operations and believes “it would be important to have an investigation,” deputy UN Secretary General Farhan Haq told at a briefing.
According to eyewitness accounts, US-controlled territory in Syria has become a grey area where militants operate with impunity. This was already the case in Afghanistan, which US soldiers ignominiously abandoned in August.
In this context, it is entirely justified that on January 27, Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia’s first deputy permanent representative to the UN, demanded at Security Council meeting that US troops be withdrawn from Syria, as they are failing in the fight against terrorism and are in that country without UN and Syrian government sanction. “The problems remain where the Americans created legal vacuum and where Syria’s sovereign territory remains occupied by foreign troops. The United States clearly fails fight against terrorism even on a local scale to say nothing of the global dimension,” he said.
Polyanskiy called attention to the dangerous situation in northeastern Syria, illegally occupied by US troops. According to him, “areas that Americans have been robbing of oil suffer from a true environmental disaster… We must say that cross-Euphrates area is another “grey spot” on the Syrian map, same as the al-Tanf area, where militants from ”Mahavir as-Saura“, indulged by the United States, enjoy total impunity and permissiveness. The illegal presence of US military in Syria created a “lawless zone” in the north-east, where foreign terrorists and militants, as well as various criminals feel perfectly at ease,” the Russian representative continued. That is why the Syrian armed forces, with the support of the Russian military, continue to seek out and destroy ISIS terrorists in Syria and this work will continue.
Polyanskiy added that “anarchy and violence” characterize any location “where the US military has been stationed – both during their presence and upon withdrawal.” The most recent evidence of this was Afghanistan, from which the US withdrew, unable to cope with the enormous burden of problems that had accumulated over the years of US occupation.
The armed conflict in Syria has been ongoing since 2011. The US, under the pretext of fighting terrorists, invaded the country without permission from the Syrian authorities and the UN. In recent months, anti-American sentiments have noticeably intensified in Syria, with Syrians demanding the withdrawal of the US troops from their country. The growth of these sentiments is also due to the continuing illegal export of Syrian oil by the United States to Iraq, as has been regularly reported by the Syrian Arab news agency SANA and from the UN rostrum by the official Syrian authorities.
On January 28, and before that in late December, Syrian Arab Army (SAA) units barred a US military convoy from entering the city of Al-Hasakah in the north-east of the republic. The residents of Tell Dahab, with the help of the Syrian military at the roadblock, prevented US armored vehicles from entering the village, forcing them to turn around.
Washington’s use of the US Army and mercenaries to secure neo-colonial targets has become the standard of US behavior. And this is especially clearly visible in the actions of Washington in Syria, where the US, backed by its army and thousands of private military companies (PMCs), continues to plunder the country, its energy resources, artefacts and any other valuable property, and kill civilians. The international community must pressure the US into immediately ceasing this treacherous behavior.
Vladimir Danilov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.