US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday, April 26, that French special operations forces arrived in Syria over the past two weeks to help boost US-led efforts against the Islamic State group. “You’ll see increased operations on the Iraqi side of the border, and the French just reinforced us in Syria with special forces here in the last two weeks. This is an ongoing fight right now.” On social media, there are rumors on the possible presence of French troops at Deir Ezzor. Soldiers from Paris have arrived in the Syrian province, together with elements of the SDF. Their base could probably be near the village of Kamal Atallah, [Hatlah Tahtani?] north east of the city of Deir Ez-Zor, about a hundred elements, equipped with armored vehicles, rocket launchers and mobile radar (Orient News).
[ April 6 Isis still near Shaddadi and Bukamal ]
According to State Department coalition envoy Brett McGurk, fighting against Islamic State in Syria is ongoing in two areas close to the Iraqi border, one east of Shaddadi and the other in the far southeast at Bukamal. The latter has been the site of most recent U.S. airstrikes in Syria.
On April 1 in Syria, Coalition military forces conducted one strike consisting of three engagements against Daesh targets. Near Abu Kamal, one strike engaged a Daesh tactical unit and destroyed a Daesh vehicle.
On March 31 in Syria, Coalition military forces conducted one strike consisting of one engagement against Daesh targets. Near Abu Kamal, one strike engaged a Daesh tactical unit.
This Coalition strike release contains all strikes conducted by fighter, attack, bomber, rotary-wing, or remotely piloted aircraft, rocket propelled artillery and ground-based tactical artillery.
[December 28 2017 Syria: “We’ve got no intention to operate in areas that are currently held by the regime” ]
“We’ve got no intention to operate in areas that are currently held by the regime,”
British army Maj. Gen. Felix Gedney, deputy commander for strategy and support at Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve. In Syria, the coalition is disturbed by ISIS forces operating in areas controlled by the Assad regime with impunity, Gedney said. The Russian military is also operating in the area, and that complicates counter-ISIS operations in the Middle Euphrates River Valley.
ISIS operations in that region shows the Assad regime “is clearly either unwilling or unable” to defeat ISIS within their borders
[November 11 Trump to deal “It’s going to save tremendous numbers of lives.” ]
Trump and Putin had agreed on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit that a political solution was needed on Syria.
Joint Statement by the President of the United States and the President of the Russian Federation
Office of the Spokesperson
November 11, 2017
President Trump and President Putin today, meeting on the margins of the APEC conference in Da Nang, Vietnam, confirmed their determination to defeat ISIS in Syria. They expressed their satisfaction with successful U.S.-Russia enhanced de-confliction efforts between U.S. and Russian military professionals that have dramatically accelerated ISIS’s losses on the battlefield in recent months.
The Presidents agreed to maintain open military channels of communication between military professionals to help ensure the safety of both U.S. and Russian forces and de-confliction of partnered forces engaged in the fight against ISIS. They confirmed these efforts will be continued until the final defeat of ISIS is achieved.
The Presidents agreed that there is no military solution to the conflict in Syria. They confirmed that the ultimate political solution to the conflict must be forged through the Geneva process pursuant to UNSCR 2254. They also took note of President Asad’s recent commitment to the Geneva process and constitutional reform and elections as called for under UNSCR 2254.
The two Presidents affirmed that these steps must include full implementation of UNSCR 2254, including constitutional reform and free and fair elections under UN supervision, held to the highest international standards of transparency, with all Syrians, including members of the diaspora, eligible to participate. The Presidents affirmed their commitment to Syria’s sovereignty, unity, independence, territorial integrity, and non-sectarian character, as defined in UNSCR 2254, and urged all Syrian parties to participate actively in the Geneva political process and to support efforts to ensure its success.
Finally President Trump and President Putin confirmed the importance of de-escalation areas as an interim step to reduce violence in Syria, enforce ceasefire agreements, facilitate unhindered humanitarian access, and set the conditions for the ultimate political solution to the conflict. They reviewed progress on the ceasefire in southwest Syria that was finalized the last time the two Presidents met in Hamburg, Germany on July 7, 2017.
The two presidents, today, welcomed the Memorandum of Principles concluded in Amman, Jordan, on November 8, 2017, between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America. This Memorandum reinforces the success of the ceasefire initiative, to include the reduction, and ultimate elimination, of foreign forces and foreign fighters from the area to ensure a more sustainable peace. Monitoring this ceasefire arrangement will continue to take place through the Amman Monitoring Center, with participation by expert teams from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Russian Federation, and the United States.
The two Presidents discussed the ongoing need to reduce human suffering in Syria and called on all UN member states to increase their contributions to address these humanitarian needs over the coming months.
In addition, President Trump noted that he had a good meeting with President Putin. He further noted that the successful implementation of the agreements announced today will save thousands of lives.
[November 6 Russians threatened by al-Tanf ]
Rising tensions between U.S.-backed Syrian forces and the Russian-backed Syrian army — both of which are battling IS — race for control of oil and gas-rich areas of eastern Syria is engendering Russian military accusations.
The claim is that the U.S, is turning a blind eye and effectively providing cover to the Islamic State group’s operations in an area in eastern Syria that is under U.S. control.
The Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, said on October 6 that IS militants have used the area around the town of Tanf near Syria’s border with Jordan — where U.S. military instructors are also stationed — to launch attacks against the Syrian army.
He says the area has become a “black hole,” posing a threat to Syrian army’s offensive against the IS in eastern Der el-Zour province.
[June 20 F-15E downs Shaheed-129 UAV ]
The Shaheed-129 drone was armed and displayed hostile intent when it was intercepted by an F-15E Strike Eagle around 12:30 a.m. local time near the Syrian city of Tanf, according to U.S. Central Command. It was observed heading toward coalition forces, who were outside the outpost, officials said. Squadrons of F-15E Strike Eagles are routinely deployed to al Udeid Base in Qatar.
[June 30 2016 Al Bukimal drive withdraws with Western special forces ]
The U.S.-backed New Syrian Army said it was forced to withdraw its forces to its base at Tanf near the Jordanian border after launching what appears to have been a poorly conceived offensive aimed at capturing the strategically important eastern Syrian town of Abu Kamal on the Syrian-Iraqi border.
[June 29 2016]
An operation aiming to capture the eastern Syrian town of Al-Bukamal, has began on June 28, adding to the pressure facing Islamic State as it faces a separate, U.S.-backed offensive in northern Syria aimed at driving it away from the Turkish border.
Syrian rebel sources say the rebel force has received military training in U.S.-run camps in Jordan, but most of their training was now being conducted in a main base at al-Tanf, a Syrian town southwest of Al-Bukamal at the border with Iraq.
The New Syria Army’s base in al-Tanf was hit twice earlier this month by Russian air strikes, even after the U.S. military used emergency channels to ask Moscow to stop after the first strike, U.S. officials say.
The rebel commander and the Observatory said the rebels had also captured an air base from Islamic State militants near Al-Bukamal. Heavy clashes were underway, with militants dug in at the Hamadan air base, 5 km (3 miles) northwest of Al-Bukamal.
“The clashes are inside the (town) and matters are not yet settled,” said the rebel commander of the Asala wa-al-Tanmiya Front, one of the Marin elements of the New Syria Army. The rebel forces entered the town at dawn, he said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the offensive was being mounted with backing of Western special forces and U.S.-led air strikes. A DIFFERENT THALAB PATROL VEHICLE NEAR AL-TANF BORDER CROSSING, SYRIA IN EARLY MARCH. IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THE VEHICLE IS OPERATED BY FOREIGN SPECIAL FORCES.
Tthe Jordanian Thalab Long Range Patrol Vehicle has been spotted with the New Syrian Army on two separate occasions. The Thalab LRPV is used by Jordanian Special Forces and is designed for long multi-day patrols in harsh terrain. A Thalab is rather expensive compared to the cheap Toyota Hilux pick-ups supplied to the New Syrian Army by the US. It’s possible that foreign special forces are operating this vehicle, the lack of footage of the Thalab in official New Syrian Army videos further supports this theory.
[January 16 2014 U.S. Special Forces to select moderate Syrian recruits for six-to-eight week training.
American military forces, particularly Special Forces, have decades of experience screening foreign military forces for training, Pentagon officials said.But identifying rebel fighters who don’t have ties to Jabhat al-Nusra, the main al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, is extremely difficult for a Pentagon with limited resources on the ground. “We also know the Syrian opposition better now than we did two years ago through the programs we’ve had providing non-lethal assistance,” said Cmdr. Elissa Smith, a Pentagon spokesperson. The Pentagon, the State Department and other nations are using a number of sources to screen moderate Syrian recruits, and it will be an ongoing process,
A training program could begin as early as March in the three countries that have agreed to host the training: Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. At least four training sites in those countries are being identified and the plan is to split the approximately 400 U.S. trainers and their accompanying support forces evenly across those sites for what is expected to be a six- to eight-week training cycle
8 March 2013 : The planning cell, which was housed at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Centre in the north of the capital, Amman is now in the Jordanian town of Safawi in the country’s northern desert region, and has since been expanded to co-ordinate a more ambitious training programme, with recent US reports saying it was being led by the CIA. A Jordanian source familiar with the training operations said: “It’s the Americans, Brits and French with some of the Syrian generals who defected. But we’re not talking about a huge operation.”
06/17/2014: Syrian rebels who would later join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, were trained in 2012 by U.S. instructors working at a secret base in Jordan, according to informed Jordanian officials.
[June 23 2012 No excuse to do nothing about Syria]
No country is immune from this spillover because of the composition of the societies, the extensions, the connections, the sectarian, ethnic dimensions,” Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said June 23 in Baghdad. “This is not an excuse to do nothing about Syria, no. But there will be an impact.”
Hoshyar Zebari is the current Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq. A Kurd originally from Aqrah, a city in Iraqi Kurdistan, Zebari holds a masters degree in sociology from the University of Essex, England and studied political science in Jordan.