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Vladimir Putin. Photo supplied

Putin questions US resolve to eliminate ISIS in Syria

At the Valdai event last week, the Russian president Vladimir Putin elaborated on the situation concerning ISIS and the United States east of the Euphrates in Syria, where militants had executed the captured and promised to kill more.

Published: October 21, 2018, 10:35 am

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    Speaking in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, Putin noted: “Now we see what is happening on the left bank of the Euphrates. Probably, our colleagues know: this territory is under the patronage of our American partners. They rely on the Kurdish armed forces.

    President Putin explained that Islamic State militants had seized nearly 700 hostages in part of Syria controlled by US-backed forces.

    “But they have obviously left a loose end: ISIS remains in several locations and has begun to expand its area of influence recently. They took 130 families hostage – almost 700 people.” The hostages included several US and European nationals, he said on Thursday.

    “This is just horrifying. It is a tragedy I think. We need to do something about it. Why do our colleagues keep silent? According to our information, several US and European citizens are among the hostages.”

    ISIS has steadily been expanding on the left bank of the River Euphrates controlled by US and its proxy forces.

    There has also been a media black-out on the recent developments. It includes an incident in which two F-15 fighter jets targeted Kurdish units amid their offensive on the remaining forces of ISIS terrorists in Syria, RT reported, citing a “military and diplomatic source”.

    It happened near the town of Hajin in the Syrian province of Deir Ezzor where ISIS managed to seize some territories in the area, the source added.

    ISIS has released photos of an execution of five local men accused of being spies.

    Despite Kurdish forces having US air support, ISIS has not been driven out after five and half months in the small area that it holds.

    Kurdish forces are under the direction of US Special Forces facing some 2 000 jihadists who lack heavy weapons and have no way to resupply. Russian authorities have therefore expressed their doubts on the US committment to get rid of ISIS.

    “The imitation of the fight against terrorists in this region of Syria has been going on for more than six months and has been used by Washington to justify its illegal presence in this country,” the source stressed.

    The US Weekly Strike Summary has noted many aerial attacks but the results have been scrappy.

    The last four weekly summaries list a total of 349 strikes and 546 “engagements” but none of these seem to have had any effect on ISIS numbers or capabilities and despite the very high strike number, there has been zero progress on the ground.

    “The military operations in Hajin will take much longer than expected,” said Redur Khalil, a top Kurdish commander. “Daesh [ISIS] is benefiting a lot from weather factors, including sandstorms. They’ve helped it take cover from reconnaissance aircraft and other monitoring mechanisms,” he told AFP.

    The recent series of sandstorms in the area however, ended several days ago, weather reports noted.

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