What’s Behind US Air Force Abandoning New Syrian Army on the Battlefield

The New Syrian Army opposition group failed an operation against Daesh after planes of a US-led coalition had been diverted from the offensive, according to media reports.

The operation started on June 28 with the goal of taking the town of Al Bukamal in Syria’s east from extremists. The Washington Post reported, citing US officials familiar with the situation, that in the middle of the operation the US aircraft were instructed to leave for the outskirts of Iraq’s Fallujah.
As a result, forces of the New Syrian Army had to backtrack for 300 km inland in Syria.

If Al Bukamal was liberated Daesh militants in Syria and Iraq would be cut off from each other. The presence of a major military force in the region could spark a tribal revolt against Daesh.
However, according to US military spokesman Col. Chris Garver, the planes in the Al Bukamal offensive were diverted to tackle a Daesh convoy attempting to escape the Iraqi Army that had recaptured Fallujah. The convoy is said to have been destroyed with the help of the US, UK and Iraqi aircraft.

The US force saw that forces of the New Syrian Army were suffering a defeat and called off air forces. The Pentagon realized that the rebel group was incapable in combat, retired Syrian Maj. Gen. Yahya Suleiman suggested.

It was not the first time the US has tried to create an armed group of Syrian moderate opposition to rely on in the fight against Daesh.

“Hundreds of millions of dollars have been wasted. The New Syrian Army is another joint project by the US and Jordan. It composes members of tribes living in eastern Syria. But its combat capabilities are not sufficient,” Suleiman told the Russian newspaper Izvestia.

Despite the fact the New Syrian Army is trained by US and Jordanian instructors and provided with intelligence data, the group is incapable to accomplish the assigned tactical and strategic goals, he added.
At the same time, Garver stressed that the New Syrian Army remains Washington’s ally in Syria and the US will continue to support its operations.

“The diversion of air forces also calls into question whether the US military and its coalition allies have committed enough resources to the war against the Islamic State, which is now being waged on multiple fronts across a large swath of territory in Syria and Iraq,” The Washington Post noted.

“This incident proves that the strategy of the US and its allies has been ineffective. Now, the US has no option but to cooperate with Iran and Russia to defeat the terrorists,” Iranian political analyst Hassan Hanizadeh told Sputnik.

According to Russian Lt. Gen. Valeriy Zaparenko, the US military might have abandoned the rebel group on purpose. The possible goal is to convince Washington that US forces in the region are not sufficient and should be bolstered.

“It is possible that US politicians will decide to enlarge US forces in the Middle East,” he told Gazeta.ru.

If it is true such a plan of the US military command would be logic and clear. The US wants to play the key role in defeating Daesh and take further advantage of this victory. As a result, Washington is likely to expand its forces in the combat zones in Syria and Iraq.

Military expert Alexander Perendzhiev noted that the US military demonstrated it was not ready for combat in difficult conditions.
“The US military is used to fighting a conventional army. The situation in Syria is different. The terrorists move in small groups so it’s difficult to detect them. The air forces could not identify the enemy and simply flew away,” he was quoted as saying by the Russian online newspaper Vzglyad.

Anatoly Tsyganok, a senior analyst at the Institute for Military and Political Analysis, did not agree that the US demonstrated unpreparedness for combat in the Al Bukamal offensive.

“The main goal for the US in Syria is to topple President Bashar Assad. Support for Kurdish forces and the fight against Daesh are secondary goals,” he told Gazeta.ru.

The opinion was shared by Iranian analyst Seyed Abd al Majid Zavari.

He also added that the US is not interested in fighting Daesh because it can use the terrorist group to pressure its regional rivals, line Russia and Iran.

Iranian special correspondent in Syria and Iraq, Hassan Shemshadi said that the US is not interested in destroying Daesh and wants to justify its military presence in the region.