Washington is in full swings with its accusations against the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance after the end of the battle for Raqqa.
On October 18, the US Special Envoy for the US-led coalition Brett McGurk said during a meeting with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Raqqa Civil Council that the “Syrian regime will never have a foothold in Raqqa”, according to a report of the SDF official website.
The report added that during the meeting McGurk stressed the US support for the SDF and Raqqa Civil Council according to the source. McGurk added that the priority is now to de-mine Raqqa city and to restore electricity and water supplies and other services in it.
In other words, McGurk confirmed that the US is still committed to the SDF and is going to further use this force for own political goals in Syria. The statement also indicates that the US may be ready to support the SDF in case of a standoff against the Damascus government after ISIS is defeated.
Furthermore, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders accused the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance of hindering the US-led coalition’s “efforts to liberate Raqqa” during the October 18 press briefing.
“This eminent victory by the global coalition and our brave servicemembers comes at a high cost, particularly to the Syrian Democratic Forces who suffered many casualties as they fought to liberate their own country from the oppression of ISIS,” she said, according to the White House website.
“As coalition and our partner forces closed in around them, ISIS used civilians as human shields and killed those who attempted to flee. ISIS’s barbaric acts have left many scars across the region, and we remain committed to supporting stabilization efforts and local security forces in liberated areas through a political transition in Syria.
Unfortunately, the Syrian regime and its supporters hinder the efforts to liberate Raqqa. Instead of focusing on fighting ISIS, the pro-regime forces attacked our partners and attempted to block them from liberating the Syrian people from the brutality of ISIS.“
It’s interesting to note that Sanders once again repeated the mantra about some kind of “political transition in Syria.” During the Obama administration, these words meant that the US is seeking to overthrow Assad and to establish the “moderate opposition” [accidentally linked to al-Qaeda] goverment in Damascus. Right now, it is not clear what the Trump administration means when it uses these words.
In a related development, the SDF announced that its fighters repelled a new attack of ISIS on their positions around al-Suwar town in the northern Deir Ezzor countryside. The SDF added that one of its fighters was killed while repelling the attack.
Lately the SDF advance in Deir Ezzor governorate slowed down due to multiple counter attacks of ISIS on its positions in the northern Deir Ezzor countryside. However, after the end of Raqqa battle, the SDF will be able to redeploy a big force from Raqqa city to the front lines in Deir Ezzor countryside.
With the help of the US-led coalition, the SDF will likely advance towards the strategic Omar oil fields. At the same time, the SAA also seeks to capture these oil fields. So, tensions between the SAA and the SDF may grow further.