“U.S.-backed Syrian militias will not let government forces cross the Euphrates River in their bid to recover eastern Syria, their commander said on Friday, but Russia said army units had already done so near the city of Deir al-Zor.”
Reuters notes that Russia is involved in this particular part of Syria, bolstering the Syrian Arab Army and its allies with air power.
According to Reuters, an aide to Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, said the government would fight any force that comes within its path, including U.S.-backed forces. According to Deir ez-Zor military council commander Ahmed Abu Khawla, who fights under the banner of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF):
“Now we have 3 km between us and the eastern riverbank, once our forces reach the area, any shot fired into that area we will consider an attack on the military council.”
“We have notified the regime and Russia that we are coming to the Euphrates riverbank, and they can see our forces advancing…We do not allow the regime or its militias to cross to the eastern riverbank.”
The “Deir ez-Zor military council” was established under the banner of the U.S.-backed SDF as recently as December 2016. This was arguably a poor attempt to legitimize Washington’s aspirations for the oil-rich region. In actuality, 4,000 fighters backed by foreign powers can hardly be a more legitimate force than the current Syrian government and its forces, but as is usually the case, the United States is not remotely concerned with the legality of this current strategy.
According to Reuters, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the SAA had already crossed the Euphrates, making a difficult scenario for America’s ambitions in the region. Not only is the Syrian army ignoring Washington’s directions, Russia is apparently unfazed by these developments, as well.
Unsurprisingly, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov just held a phone call to discuss Syria, presumably to try to come to some agreement about the partition of the region.
Why Russia and Syria should concede Syrian territory to the U.S. and its allies has not been made clear given the land belongs to Syria in the first place. The corporate media’s longstanding anti-Assad narrative was undermined when the U.N. reported that 500,000 Syrians had begun returning home to areas liberated by the Syrian army in the first half of 2017 alone.
The U.S. media has also downplayed the fact that Russia is backing one side of this conflict and the U.S. is backing another — even though this emerging conflict puts 900 U.S. personnel directly at risk. What happens if and when the Syrian army decides it wants to defend itself from the U.S.-backed forces? Will the Russian and American air forces collide – or will the situation be successfully de-escalated?
That is a question no one seems prepared to answer — and that no one is even willing to discuss. The ‘trusted’ media outlets who do touch on the issue tend to fully support the United States’ bid to interfere further in Syria.