On Friday, Asaad al-Salem a defector from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) said in an interview with the Russian “Russia-24” news TV channel that US-backed groups in al-Tanaf base sell arms to ISIS.
Al-Salem served as a chief security officer at al-Tanaf base, he defected with other fighters from US-backed Maghawir al-Thawra.
“When we learned that our unit’s leader was selling weapons to ISIS terrorists, we reported that to American base command, but following our report no action has been taken. The Americans only ramped up the support to the man who was appointed our commander and who was dealing with ISIS,” Al-Salem told Russia-24 correspondent Eugeniy Poddubny.
Rt’s video on the same issue:
— RT (@RT_com) 1 September 2017
Al-Salem said that they were armed with US-made weapons and that they were trained on using them by American and Norwegian instructors. However, according to Al-Salem, even these US-made weapons were sold to ISIS.
“The -Maghawir al-Thawra leader was selling all sorts of weapons our unit had, US-made small arms, M-16 and M-4 rifles, recoilless rifles, various machine guns and ammunition for them,” Al-Salem said.
Al-Salem said that he was told that they were going to fight ISIS. However, the reality was very different. Since establishing its base in al-Tanaf near the Iraqi border, the US-led coalition has mainly battled the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies, not ISIS.
Al-Salem claims have a sense. US-backed forces in al-Tanaf don’t even have a front with ISIS.
Al-Salem also said that the US-led coalition is only interested in pursuing their own goals. At the same time, it ignores tens o thousands of civilians in the Rukhban camp near al-Tanaf.
“Some of the people residing in the camp are relatives of those militants, collaborating with Americans, while the others are civilians from Al-Tanf. There are no suitable living conditions there, children have nowhere to study, there’s no healthcare, the Americans support only those people who they use to pursue their own goals. All in all, I’ll tell you, they behave like invaders,” Said al-Salem.
This week a new disagreement between US-backed FSA groups in al-Tanaf and the US-led coalition leadership has appeared. FSA groups refused to stop fighting the SAA and hand over its area to it. Earlier, the same groups refused to move to al-Hasakah governorate to fight ISIS.