Apparently the US Coalition has launched a new attack inside Syria, this time against a military convoy in the vicinity of the Syria-Iraq-Jordan border near a town known as Al-Tanf. Conflicting reports are coming out as to whether the convoy that came under attack was a Syrian Arab Army convoy, or one operated by pro-government militia forces.
Here is what SouthFront is reporting:
A Jordanian warplane operating under the US-led coalition carried out airstrikes against a Syrian Arab Army (SAA) convoy advancing along the Al-Tanf-Damascus-Baghdad international road. The airstrikes targeted Syrian forces in Al-Shuhaimi area, 50 km from the town of Al-Tanf located at the Syrian-Iraqi border.
The airstrikes destroyed two battle tanks, and damaged a Shilka vehicle, several pickups and trucks. Six SAA fighters lost their life and 3 were injured.
According to some US defense official, cited by the Russian state-run news agency Sputink, the US coalition commander considered the Syrian army as a threat to coalition troops.
“The commander on the ground perceived this force to be a threat to coalition forces,” the defense official said.
Meanwhile, Jaish al-Thwar, a US-backed Free Syrian Army group, claimed that its militants have clashed with the SAA and prevented it from approaching the Al-Tanf area.
According to pro-US sources, coalition warplanes targeted some Shiite militias, not the SAA. However, Shiite militias operation at the Al-Tanf road don’t have tanks or Shilka vehicles and there were many pictures and videos showing the presence of elements of the SAA in the area.
It is believed that the US is oing to use the Shiite militias issue as a pretext to stop the advance of the SAA in the area. The US-led block is working to isolate Syria from Iraq by land, supporting the Israeli desire to prevent Iran from transferring weapons to Hezbollah in Syria via Iraq.
RT, on the other hand, is reporting that the attack was upon a militia, although the RT reporter (in a video accompanying the story), admits that the details are sketchy:
The coalition said in a statement that the Syrian forces “posed a threat” to US and partner troops at Tanf base near the Syria-Iraq-Jordan border.
“This action was taken after apparent Russian attempts to dissuade Syrian pro-regime movement south towards At Tanf were unsuccessful, a coalition aircraft show of force, and the firing of warning shots,” the statement said.
Having commented on the incident, the US Defense Secretary James Mattis said Washington was not deepening its role in the Syrian conflict, but would defend its troops.
The claim that the US is “not deepening its role in the Syrian conflict” should of course be taken with a grain of salt. The following article was posted yesterday at the Syrian Free Press before news broke of today’s attack, but it does offer some insight into why such an attack might be happening now. The report is apparently taken from the Iranian Fars News Agency. If you go to the RT report (linked above) and watch the video there, you note that the video includes an interview with an analyst in Damascus who makes similar references to reports of a planned US invasion of southern Syria.
Syrian Arab Army Ready to Foil US-Led Plan to Create Buffer Zone in Southern Part of Country
(FNA) ~ A well-informed military source said on Wednesday that the Syrian Army forces will not allow the US and its western or regional allies to create a buffer zone in the Southern part of the country as a safe heaven for militants’ activities.
The Russian-language Izvestia daily quoted a field source as saying that the Syrian pro-government sources are getting ready to take control over a chunk of Damascus road to Baghdad to restore sustainable security to the main supply line of importing arms and other military equipment from Iraq.
In the meantime, Mohammad Abbas, a retired army general and military expert, said that terrorist groups and the US as their main backer intend to create a buffer zone in parallel with the Golan Heights and borders with Jordan and Iraq in Southern Syria, but the Syrian Army is to prevent them to do their plan.
Intelligent agents reported last week that the US, British and Jordanian forces were preparing for a possible invasion of Syria under the pretext of war on ISIL terrorists.
According to reports, Damascus went on the alert after intelligence reports gathered from surveillance drones suggested that the US, Britain and Jordanian militaries might be prepping a massive invasion of Syria.
Nearly 400 American and Jordanian military vehicles were located at a Jordanian military base near the Syrian desert border, the reports said, adding there was no ISIL terrorists in the region in which the US, British and Jordanian forces were operating.
The reports further added that activities of these three countries at border were aimed at gathering Arab and Western forces in al-Zarqa camp in which there were almost 4,500 gunmen.
The report went on to say that the gunmen in al-Zarqa camp went under training to battle the Syrian army to stretch a belt around Syria, a plan that was nothing more than an occupation.
The intelligence reports also said that the military convoys of the US, Jordan and Britain might launch an assault to help the West-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) around the Al-Tanf border crossing.
Reports also said that the Syrian Army troops, in response to the possible attacks by the US, British and Jordanian forces on their soil, launched a large-scale operation along the Damascus-Baghdad highway to drive FSA out of the border crossing of al-Tanf.
Although it doesn’t have anything to do with the latest attack, I also came across this video and thought I would post it. The video features an exchange between Fares Shehabi, a member of the Syrian Parliament, and a reporter for Vice. Subject of the exchange: how Bashar Assad has managed to stay in power despite years of attempts by the US and its allies to overthrow him.