Russia Today cited Russian Defense Ministry's spokesman as saying on Tuesday "The US-led coalition, which is simulating the fight against ISIS, primarily in Iraq, sees all this but continues to supposedly actively fight against ISIS, for some reason in Syria,” the spokesman said.
Major General Igor Konashenkov said the Us-led coalition has conducted fewer airstrikes in western Iraq, where shares borders with Syria, in September letting well-armed terrorists cross into Syria, particularly into Deir ez-Zor province, where Syrian army is conducting large-scale operations to annihilate ISIS terrorists.
For the past week, the focus of Syrian army has been to liberate the city of al-Mayadeen from terrorists. The city is one of the terrorists’ last strongholds in Deir ez-Zor province.
However, Despite being almost encircled by the Syrian Army in al-Mayadeen, ISIS terrorists continue to replenish their ranks and supplies in the Euphrates Valley, where the US-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are conducting their own operation against terrorists in the resource-rich region of Syria.
The Defense Ministry noted “daily attempts” to transfer fresh reinforcements from Iraq to the al-Mayadeen war theatre, comprising well-armed “foreign mercenaries” on “armored vehicles [and] pick-up trucks with large-caliber weapons".
Konashenkov wondered if the US-led anti-ISIS coalition had changed its priorities in Syria “to complicate as much as possible” the Syrian Army’s operation to liberate the territory east of the Euphrates River, or if the US plan envisages driving all IS terrorists into Syria where the Russian Air Force will “take care” of them.
Russian Defense Ministry stressed that in the US-led coalition’s area of responsibility in the western part of Iraq, the area under ISIS control is already “several times larger than in Syria” and continues to expand. Russia believes that ISIS is using this springboard in Iraq to transfer fighters into Syria.
The rate of US-led strikes against ISIS targets in Iraq has sharply decreased as Syrian forces close in on ISIS positions in Deir ez-Zor province, the Defense Ministry said, citing the open data provided by the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.
In some cases, Konashenkov noted, US-led planes reduced their daily intensity of attacks on ISIS targets in Iraq by five times compared to the engagement in Syria.
"The timing of this decrease in intensity of [the US-led] strikes in Iraq, in a strange way, coincided with the transfer of ISIS to Deir ez-Zor from the border areas of Iraq, who are now trying to gain a foothold on the eastern bank of the Euphrates,” Konashenkov said.
The spokesman also wondered why the US-led coalition froze its military operation to retake the city of Raqqa, which was long touted as the main US battleground against IS in Syria.