The US-led coalition has finished live drills within the 55km-zone around al-Tanaf in southeastern Syria, the coalition’s main proxy in the area, the Revolutionary Commando Army, announced on March 29.
In the course of the drills, which began on March 27, the coalition’s High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) conducted a live firing exercise. The rocket system was deployed in al-Tanaf in mid-2017.
جيش مغاوير الثورة بدعم من قوات التحالف يجري تدريبات مشتركة. هذه التدريبات تردع عودة داعش وقد حققت النجاح التام. لم يصب أحد في منطقة التدريبات ، وهذه التدريبات تهدف إلى ضمان بقاء المنطقة آمنة.#Altanf #Syria #ISIS @MaghaweirThowra #DefeatDaesh pic.twitter.com/l1dFROultb
— مغاوير الثورة (@MaghaweirThowra) March 27, 2019
“The maneuvers deter the return of ISIS and have been successful. No one has been hurt in the training area, which is aimed at ensuring the area remains safe,” Revolutionary Commando Army said in an official statement.
While the US-led coalition and its proxies claim that these drills were aimed against ISIS, pro-government activists believe that the coalition is attempting to intimidate the Damascus government.
Over the last three months, Damascus and its allies stepped up their military presence around the 55km-zone and pressured the coalition to evacuate the civilians from the al-Rukban camp there. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) even carried out live drills around the zone earlier this month.
The US leadership seems to believe that its forces should remain in al-Tanaf in order to block a key highway linking the Iraqi capital of Baghdad with Damascus. President Donald Trump’s administration already agreed to keep 200 troops in the area for a long term.
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