NEW YORK – 8-16-2018 — A recent report from the UN Security Council’s Sanctions Monitoring Team has found that many of the places in Syria where the terror group Daesh (ISIS) continues to operate, recuperate, and extract oil for profit are in areas of the country occupied by the United States.
According to the report’s executive summary:
Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), having been defeated militarily in Iraq and most of the Syrian Arab Republic during 2017, rallied in early 2018 [owing to] a loss of momentum by forces fighting it in the east of the Syrian Arab Republic, which has prolonged access by ISIL to resources and gave it breathing space to prepare for the next phase of its evolution into a global covert network.”
While the text itself doesn’t explicitly state who controls these areas of Syrian territory, maps of eastern Syria make it clear that the pockets of Daesh within U.S.-controlled territory have remained unchanged in size since November 2017 while the Daesh pockets in the Syrian government-controlled portion of eastern Syria have shrunk considerably since last November.
Furthermore, the UN report states that the areas where Daesh has rallied since the year began are located in “pockets of territory in the Syrian Arab Republic on the Iraqi border” where the group has mounted “attacks, including across the border into Iraq.” Again, area maps clearly show that the Daesh-controlled areas are only in the U.S.-occupied portion of eastern Syria along the Syria-Iraq border.
Notably, in the sliver of Daesh-controlled land in east Syria, when the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has tried to attack Daesh positions in the area this year, they have been targeted by U.S. coalition airstrikes. U.S. coalition airstrikes have also attacked Syrian civilian villages in the government-controlled portion of Abu Kamal. Survivors of that attack claimed that their villages had been targeted for refusing entry to the U.S.-backed militias — such as the Qasad militia, which is largely composed of former Daesh fighters.
U.S. coalition airstrikes targeting the Syrian Army in Abu Kamal and elsewhere in eastern Syria have also been the key cause of the “loss of momentum” against Daesh that was cited in the UN report, as Syrian forces, after being bombed numerous times, are prevented by U.S. forces from pursuing Daesh. In addition, the U.S.’ claims of bombing Daesh can hardly be called effective since the U.S., along with its military proxy the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), frequently announce on social media when and where they will be bombing in eastern Syria days in advance.
#DeirEzzor – After a short surveillance tour by Gen. Funk, Gen. Jarrard and #SDF commander in Middle Euphrates River Valley heval Çiya yesterday, operation to liberate #Hajin to start today in the evening.#JazeeraStorm pic.twitter.com/t9gqrNveVX
— Zana Amed (@zana_med) July 13, 2018
Also, the report also notes that another Daesh-infested area of concern in southern Syria is around the al-Tanf military base which has been occupied by the United States since 2016. The UN report raises concerns about the Rukban refugee camp which lies within the so-called “deconfliction” zone that the U.S. has imposed on a 55-kilometer radius around al-Tanf.
The report states:
The densely populated Rukban camp in southern Syrian Arab Republic contains some 80,000 internally displaced persons, including families of ISIL fighters, a situation which Member States fear might generate new ISIL cells.”
As with other Daesh-held areas under U.S. “protection,” the U.S. has attacked the Syrian Army for attempting to enter the U.S.’ “deconfliction” zone in efforts to attack Daesh militants.
Washington’s Daesh-dependent long-game
The evidence that the U.S. presence in Syria is actually helping to strengthen Daesh flies in the face of the Pentagon’s justification for the U.S.’ occupation of northeastern Syria as being necessary “because the Syrian government is not strong enough to defeat Daesh on its own.” However, as the recent UN report reveals, the Pentagon’s portrayal is false.
As MintPress has noted in the past, this finding is hardly surprising given that the Defense Intelligence Agency report from 2012 revealed that the U.S. willingly allowed Daesh to be formed in order to destabilize the Syrian government and partition Syria. Since then, the U.S. has adapted its justifications for its presence in Syria, particularly after the failure of Daesh and foreign-funded opposition groups to depose the current government of Syria.
By maintaining a Daesh pocket in the areas it occupies, the U.S. can continue to justify its illegal presence in Syria for the long-term. Indeed, just last month, the Trump administration made it clear that the U.S. military plans to stay in Syria for the long haul, substituting Iran for Daesh as its new regional boogeyman.