BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:17 A.M.) – The military presence of the United States in the desert of southern Syria is increasing, with additional firepower assets – in the form of M148 HIMARS rocket artillery systems – being sent to reinforce the joint Coalition-Free Syrian Army (FSA) base at al-Tanf. Furthermore, it has now become apparent that the US plans to build another base in the area.
As with the al-Tanf base, the new base – described as being 60 to 70 kilometers northeast of al-Tanf in the area of al-Zakf – is to be a joint operational command center for both Coalition occupation forces in Syria and the pro-Western Maghawir al-Thawra mercenary faction (an FSA franchise directly funded, trained and armed by the US Department of State). Maghawir al-Thawra is mostly made up of fighters native to the Syrian province of Deir Ezzor who prior to their expulsion by ISIS from the province had actually facilitated the operations of the terrorist group’s jihadist predecessor in eastern Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra (the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda, which later merged into ISIS in that region of Syria due to ideological and strategic commonality).
The presence of the al-Zakf base is to help expand the fight against ISIS in southern Syria despite the fact that the US special forces and their attached proxies currently share no front line with the terrorist group. This reality is due to a recent pro-government advance towards the Syrian-Iraqi border that outflanked al-Tanf to the northeast, cutting Coalition-led forces off from ISIS territories in eastern Syria. The rationale for the pro-government operation was to re-establish ground-based communications between the Damascus and Baghdad governments; something the Coalition base at al-Tanf prevented just as much as the previous presence of ISIS along the border region.
The US has repeatedly demonstrated its unwillingness to cooperate with the legitimate government of Syria in the fight against ISIS and instead (and even more specifically) showed considerably increasing interest in attacking pro-government forces via both its FSA proxy force and through airstrikes. Furthermore, the Coalition has, over the last year, found itself coincidentally assisting Daesh’s operations in eastern Syria against government forces, when for example on September 17, 2016, US airpower accidentally bombed Syrian Army units in the Thardeh Mountains thirty-seven (37) times over the course of one hour (killing between 80 and 106 government troops) which allowed ISIS forces to seize the strategic mountain range and further tighten their siege on the government-held parts of the city of Deir Ezzor.
On a final note, US airpower has – despite the combat proven high-accuracy of its precision ordinance – also demonstrated an unfortunate tendency for killing civilians by the dozens in anti-ISIS air raids carried out in the towns of al-Bukamal, al-Mayadin and in the city of Raqqah (where Coalition-led Syrian Democratic Forces are currently engaging in an operation to seize the city from ISIS).