The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have released an official statement commenting on reports appeared in Russian media that the SDF would allow ISIS to redeploy freely from the city of Raqqah to the area of Palmyra to fight with Syrian government forces.
The SDF officially denied existing of any safe passage agreement and aruged that these reports are aimed at distorting the public image of the SDF.
In turn, the SDF said that the group has information that the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance has agreements of this kind with ISIS in the area of Palmyra.
It’s also interesting to note that the SDF said that the reports about the SDF-ISIS agreement had came from the Russian Foreign Ministry. Meanwhile, it’s untrue. The source of the reports was Ria Novosti that quoted own source in the Russian Defense Ministry.
The US-backed SDF has officially made at least two safe-passage deals with ISIS terrorists. These information are confirmed by the US-led coalition.
- The SDF allowed about 70 ISIS fighters to leave freely the Tabqa dam area in 2017; (the coalition’s statement is here);
- About 500 vehicles with ISIS fighters and their supporters (as well as an unknown number of civilians taken hostage, according to the SDF) were given safe passage by the SDF in the city of Manbij out of the city of Manbij in 2016. (the coalition’s confirmation is here).
Meanwhile, there are no confirmed reports that the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance has ever made a deal with ISIS so far. Earlier this week, government forces liberated a large area south of the Palmyra-Homs highway from ISIS. Most likely, this development was referred by the SDF in its statement.
Here you can find an example of a ceasefire agreement made of by the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance in the area:
Summing up the facts, it becomes clear why the public has little doubt that the SDF could consider an option to provide a safe passage to ISIS fighters leaving Raqqah. The question is where will these fighters be deployed by the ISIS command?