The US-led coalition requested Russia for a help to clear the Homs desert and parts of Euphrates Valley from ISIS, but Russia refused to assist the US-backed force, the Syrian pro-opposition news outlet Hammurabi’s Justice News reported on January 4.
According to the report, the US-led coalition shared coordinates of several ISIS positions in the Homs desert and the Euphrates Valley with Russia. ISIS allegedly attacked the US-led coalition base in the al-Tanaf area near the Syrian-Iraqi border from these positions.
However, Russia didn’t only refuse to attack ISIS positions, but also refused to allow the US to bomb them because they were besieged by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), according to Hammurabi’s Justice News. The news outlet went on, and criticized Russia for “no being serious about fighting ISIS”.
An officer of the US-led coalition told Hammurabi’s Justice News that the Russian response to their request is “unfortunate”.
“From the first day of coalition efforts to defeat Daesh [ISIS] inside Syria, we understood that it will be a long commitment. And we are committed as long as Syrians and the Middle East need to be protected from terrorism threats, even if we are facing difficulties like serious threats that come from the regime-held areas against our forces in the 55 zone. The Russian reaction to our requests is unfortunate,” the US-led coalition officer told Hammurabi’s Justice News.
The US-led coalition and several groups of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) launched a military against several positions of ISIS in the Homs desert around al-Tanaf base on December 23. The operation confirmed that ISIS actually attacked the al-Tanaf base from pockets still under its control right near the base and not from the SAA-held area as the US-led coalition had claimed.
Moreover, the US-led collation didn’t support the SAA or Russia in any battle against ISIS. In fact, US-led coalition warplanes watched ISIS entering the ancient city of Palmyra on May, 2015, and did nothing at all. Later on September 2017, ISIS fighters captured the city of al-Qaryatayn in the southern Homs countryside after passing through the area controlled by US-backed FSA groups.
Hammurabi’s Justice News report is yet to be confirmed by the US-led coalition. However, it’s possible that Russia and the SAA are not hurrying up to launch an operation against ISIS in the Homs desert. The SAA is currently conducting a large-scale attack against the al-Qaeda-affaileated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in Idlib governorate. An operation against ISIS in the Homs desert might be launched this spring when the weather improves in central Syria, according to Syrian pro-government activists.