By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai
The Syrian Army is gathering its forces to liberate the south of the country and liberate the three main commercial roads linking Damascus with Amman, Jordan (where the first is crossing Abtah, Da’el, Daraa, the second parallel road linking Damascus with Naseeb crossing and the third linking Sueida province with Basri, Saida and Daraa).
Simultaneously, the US State Department has issued its first warning to the Syrian Army reminding it that the south of Syria is part of the “de-escalation zone negotiated between the US, Jordan and Russia last year and agreed between President Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump” to keep the status-quo.
This means that the US would like to conserve what remains of al-Qaeda and ISIS (under the name of Jaish Khaled bin Al-Waleed) in Daraa and Quneitra on the triangle bordering Syria-Jordan-Israel. In this actual scenario, the only solution that remains for the Syrian government is to activate the trialogue – “Army- Population- Resistance” – and count on the Syrian armed resistance deployed in the south of the country to avoid exposing the Syrian Army to US or most probably to Israeli Air Force strikes. Interestingly, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for the US forces to overfly the Russian agreed operational zone, because this would certainly lead to Russian reaction.
The Syrian army helicopters just threw thousands of leaflets over the city of Daraa calling on citizens to “expel the terrorists just as your brothers did in the eastern Ghouta and Qalamoun. Do not allow them to use you as human shields.” This coincided with the return of the Syrian army to its initial positions in Quneitra and Daraa following the liberation of all jihadist pockets in the vicinity of Damascus (al-Gouta, Yarmouk, Hajar al-aswad, Saham and Babilla …) and in the countryside of Homs and Hama.
Russian, Turkish and Iranian observers have secured the Damascus-Aleppo-Turkey road, the same route that links northern Syria to the south, from Gaziantep Turkey, through Aleppo, Hama, Homs, Damascus, Deraa, to finally reach Amman.
The Turkish, Iranian and Russian established observers have elevated points along the new demarcation line with Idlib and its environs and have set up a cease-fire situation until the political solution and direct negotiations between Damascus and Ankara matures. The main Turkish jihadist-sponsor has accepted responsibility for the security of the motorway adjacent to the al-Qaeda and insurgent controlled areas.
But the Syrian army’s move to the south has its dangers and risks. Washington has no vested national security concern nor economic interests which should prevent the Syrian army from regaining control of its southern territory. Nor is it in the interests of any US citizen to accept the intervention of its establishment to prevent the return of stability to Syria and to end al-Qaeda and ISIS in southern Syria. In point of fact the US has paid already dearly, with the 9/11 attack and its responses to it, and with multiple Al Qaeda attacks on its territory, embassies and forces around the world.
Thus, the protection of al Qaeda in the south of Syria and also of ISIS (the organisation that poses the greatest threat to the Middle East and Europe) can be justified only in the context of protecting Israel, the US’s favoured ally.
Israel prefers ISIS and does not want to see it defeated in Syria,” said Major General Herzi Halevy, the head of Israel’s military intelligence. Halevy was “concerned about the offensives against ISIS”. Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon said “ISIS (although situated on the borders with Israel) doesn’t pose a threat to Israel” and he would “rather see ISIS rule all of Syria”.
Therefore, the US warning to prevent the Syrian army from restoring all of its territory – especially the south adjacent to Israel and the occupied Golan in the provinces of Daraa and Quneitra – does indeed serve principally the interests of Israel.
ISIS is still alive in the north-eastern region (and part of the Syrian steppe al-Badia) under the control of the US-French-British special forces deployed in northern Syria- without the permission of the Syrian central government.
Should we understand that the US does not care about the interests of the Middle East and the continued terrorist group’s presence and activity on the Syrian-Israeli and the Syrian-Iraqi borders. It appears in the eyes of the world that the US is rather protecting terrorism when it is supposed to combat it. However, the US allows the Iraqi Air Force – not the Syrian or Russia Air Force or ground forces – to carry out occasional air strikesin coordination with Damascus against ISIS in the area controlled by the US forces in the north of Syria.
It is indeed possible to understand Washington’s unlimited support for Israel at the expense of the Middle East. But it is awkward to explain Washington’s support for ISIS – generally speaking – that same ISIS that carried out attacks against Washington’s European allies in France, Belgium, Britain and elsewhere. Surprisingly, the largest presence of European special forces (French and British) is located in the very same area where ISIS is protected against attacks by the Syrian Army and its allies.
At the moment, its actions (cutting the link between Baghdad and Damascus, warning Damascus not to open the link between Damascus and Amman, occupying 23% of the northern Syrian territory rich in oil and gas) show that the US does not want to withdraw its forces from Syria and does not want to restore Syria’s commercial routes east and south.
Moreover, the US apparently really does not want to eliminate organisations such as “ISIS” and al-Qaeda. It needs to maintain this actual situation on the ground because it wants to keep Syria unstable and divided. Therefore, to the Syrian government it is clear there is no choice but to rely on the organisation and principle of “the Army – the People – the Resistance” to avoid the destruction of the Syrian army by the US and Israel, which is what would happen if they tried to take back the territory for themselves – unless of course Russia didn’t intervene. After all, the Syrian Army has decided to liberate Daraa in coordination with Moscow. The area is extremely sensitive to the US because it is indeed vital to Israel. Thus, it all depends on Russia’s attitude.
Could the existing irregular but organised Syrian resistance forces take the situation in hand to recover the occupied territories? Not just the territory occupied by ISIS and AQ, but also the territory occupied by Israel, mirroring what Lebanon did in May 2000?
Proof read by: Maurice Brasher
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