British military advisers have arrived to Syria to restore combat capability of the ‘moderate’ opposition, retreated from Aleppo.
British military advisers have arrived to Syria in order to restore combat capability of units of the ‘moderate’ opposition, retreated from Aleppo, the Izvestiya newspaper reported, citing a statement of UK Defense Minister Michael Fallon. According to Fallon, 20 British military instructors, who will train the opposition forces, involved in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, have already arrived at the destination.
The dispatch of British advisers was announced in October, long before the recapture of Aleppo by the Syrian government forces. Initially, they had a task to train recruits to conduct combined arms combat, as well as to teach them the basics of tactical medicine and combat engineering. However, the situation changed and the task was changed too.
According to media and information from social networks, now the group of military advisors consists mainly of high-ranking officers in the rank of up to brigadier general. The group is guarded by the Elite Special Forces of the UK Armed Forces – the Special Air Service (SAS). Their first task is to evaluate the combat capability of opposition units, escaped from Aleppo, and the condition of their military hardware. Then, they will have to develop a new strategy for the ‘moderate’ opposition and try to unite its military structures under a single command.
As First Deputy Head of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Lt. Gen. Viktor Poznihir, said, an operation on withdrawal of militants, their family members and civilians, held by them, from blocked parts of Aleppo to the province of Idlib is currently conducted. According to reports, the eastern part of Aleppo has been left by 6,462 people, including 3,000 militants, in the first 24 hours of the evacuation.
After the liberation of Aleppo, Western powers seriously fear of discord between survived oppositionists. For this reason, they intend to consolidate disjointed units and turn them into the combat-capable army. Fallon has already promised that British military instructors will train only ‘moderate’ opposition, but not Islamists. The basis of the rebel forces should consist of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and three other groups.
As an advisor to the Director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, Elena Suponina, noted, the opposition suffered a serious defeat in Aleppo.
“The oppositionists retreat to Idlib province, but it is broken up units, which are in a very difficult relations with each other,” the expert told Izvestiya. “The groups are disjointed and weakened.”
Suponina suggested that the UK will not be able to form the combat-ready and competent forces from the surviving militants.
“The British try to somehow save the situation after the defeat in Aleppo, but before this the Americans also have tried to create the efficient opposition and completely failed with this,” she said. “Most likely, the British experience also will be not so successful.”