South Front is reporting that the US-led Coalition has set up a second military base near the Syria-Iraq border. Apparently, the US Coalition, now aligned with the Kurds, is seeking to establish control over the entire border region before the advancing Syrian Arab Army can get there.
The US-led coalition has set up a new military base in Al-Zkuf, 70 km north-east of Al-Tanf near the Syrian-Iraqi border. According to the US-led coalition, the aim of the base is to fight ISIS.
The report, which you can access here, goes on to state that “the real purpose of new US-led coalition base in Al-Zkuf is to prevent the SAA advance aimed at reaching the Syrian-Iraqi border.”
An interesting aspect to all this is that while the SAA is advancing toward the border from the north and west, the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), which South Front identifies as being “part of the Iraqi Armed Forces,” are moving toward the border from the south and east. According to a report here, the PMU’s goal is “to secure the entire border with Syria.” This won’t be an easy task. The border is 373 miles long, but PMU forces have had some major successes in Nineveh Province where they have seized from ISIS control the city of Al-Baaj and several other nearby villages.
The thing to keep in mind here is that the SAA and the PMU are essentially making common cause–that being the defeat of ISIS–and that they may be on the verge of an outright alliance with one another. Iraqi National Security Advisor Faleh al-Fayyad is said to have relayed a “verbal message” from Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to Syrian President Bashar Assad. The message is said to have proposed a “joint cooperation” effort “to fight terrorism in both countries and to secure the border between the two countries.” That is, at least, according to a report here. In the writer’s view, this sets the stage for a “proxy clash” between Iran and the US. By the way, Al-Abadi, it should be remembered, is Shiite, and an analyst at Al-Arabiya, the Saudi-funded news agency, seems convinced (or at least has convinced himself) that the PMU is in reality being led by Iranian forces.
And just as it seeks to halt the Syrian government’s advance to the border, the US Coalition is also said to be opposing the PMU efforts to secure the border from the Iraqi side. The irony here is that the US, which has set itself up as the global hegemon, is seeking to deny control of the border to the two sovereign nations which lie on either side of it.
As mentioned above, the US has now formed a close alliance with the Kurds, or at any rate the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF. Interestingly, the Chinese news agency Xinhua is reporting that the SDF has warned the PMU against attempting to cross into Kurdish areas on the Syrian side of the border.
The new base at Al-Zkuf is the second US Coalition military base along the border. Previously the coalition had set up a base at the Syrian town of Al-Tanf, from which it has been training the so-called moderate rebels of the Free Syrian Army.
Documentary about Syrian Women
The following is a very interesting documentary about Syrian women recently posted. It includes interviews with women from different walks of life–university students, artists, even a segment on a woman coach of a boy’s soccer team. All of it is quite informative, but especially interesting, in my opinion, are the comments from women who managed to escape from ISIS-held areas of the country. Some of these women, as you will see, in addition to falling under the control of ISIS, also had contact with the Free Syrian Army. And if you’re of the opinion that the FSA must surely be “moderates,” otherwise why would the US be supporting them, you might change your mind after viewing this.