The US-led coalition announced in an official statement released on December 27, that it and one of the Free Syrian Army groups, Maghawir al-Thawra (MaT), launched a joint military operation against several positions of ISIS in the Hama desert around the al-Tanaf base on December 23.
“The combined operations are a result of many hours of planning, building trust and close cooperation between Coalition Special Operations Forces and the MaT,” said Major General James Jarrard, commander of the Special Operations Joint Task Force in the US-led coalition.
During the operation, MaT fighters secured several caves that had been used by ISIS to store weapons, explosives and communications equipment around al-Tanaf, according to the statement. Moreover, the coalition revealed that ISIS had used these positions in the Hama desert to move to and from the Euphrates Valley.
The US-led coalition statement confirms that ISIS maintains presence in the al-Tanaf area right under its eyes, just as Russia and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) said on many occasions. On October 23, the Hezbollah media wing in Syria even accused the US-led coalition of allowing ISIS to enter the SAA-held Al-Qaryatayn town in the southern Homs countryside.
The statement also confirms that the US-led coalition lied when it accused the SAA of allowing ISIS to move freely through its lines to attack al-Tanf base on December 13, as ISIS was already around the base, according to the US-led coalition itself.