US Troops Leaving Syria Are Headed To Iraq To Fight ISIS | Sunday TODAY
Destruction; Islamic State – the only goal uniting the various sides of the Syrian conflict
WASHINGTON – US-Russian-brokered ceasefire in Syria could allow the US and its coalition partners, as well as Russia and the Syrian regime, to focus on fighting the Islamic State.
According to analysts, it all depends on how the ceasefire is carried out. It is unlikely that the various military forces operating in the country will cooperate, although Washington and Moscow have said that some joint efforts are planned..
“The truce gives the Russians and Americans the chance to more effectively coordinate their actions in two separate wars against IS,” says Radwan Badini, a professor at Salahaddin University in Iraq..
According to Badini, the destruction of IS is the only goal that unites the various sides of the Syrian conflict.
The ceasefire is still viewed with skepticism, since previous attempts ended in failure, but now “it can free some of the forces from Assad to carry out other tasks,” including to fight ISIS, said Aaron Lund, Middle East expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace..
The truce officially went into effect on Monday. Russia announced the termination of air operations in Syria, with the exception of strikes on areas controlled by “terrorists”.
If the ceasefire is approved, the Syrian regime’s troops will try to fight IS in “important areas such as the outskirts of Aleppo and the region east of Homs,” said Faisal Itani, an analyst at the Atlantic Council in Washington..
Government forces and IS fighters are also fighting in the oil-rich Deir al-Zur province in the east of the country, where much of the countryside is controlled by IS..
“Any resources and personnel accumulated by the Assad regime will also be directed to Deir al-Zur,” says Itani..
After suffering serious defeats in the north of the country from insurgents supported by Turkey and Kurdish forces supported by the United States, IS militants are trying to seize new territories.
Since last week, IS has been attacking rebel-held areas around Damascus. Mount Kalamoun is of strategic importance to both the rebels and the government.
“If we accept the assumption that the ceasefire is strengthened, the rebels will free up their forces to fight IS in the province of Aleppo and possibly in Raqqa,” Lund said..
US and Turkish authorities have recently discussed what role local forces can play in liberating Raqqa, the self-proclaimed capital of IS..
Turkey supports some of the rebel factions that played a key role in ousting IS fighters from the border town of Jerablus, while the United States supports the Kurdish coalition that has won a series of major victories against IS in northern and eastern Syria..
“At the moment, IS is a threat to both the Syrian government and the rebel forces,” Badini said. “So an effective ceasefire means that both sides will have more incentive to fight IS instead of fighting each other.”.
Analysts believe that in the event of the fall of IS, a solution could be found to end the tangled civil war in Syria.
Such a scenario “will give more power to some players and help forge new alliances, as we have seen with the Americans and Kurds, as well as the development of cooperation between Washington and Moscow,” Lund said..
Voice of America Russian Service reports:
At a press briefing on Monday, State Department spokesman John Kirby commented on the situation around the ceasefire in Syria.
“We saw reports based on the comments of the Secretary of State and a (State Department) spokesman this afternoon that the US and Russia may approve of the Syrian regime’s airstrikes. This is not true. To clarify, the agreement announced last week does not stipulate at all that the US and Russia can approve airstrikes by the Syrian regime, and this is not something we could ever foresee. From our point of view, the main purpose of this agreement is to prevent flights or strikes by the Syrian air force on areas where the opposition or al-Nusra are present. The purpose of the Joint Implementation Center, if and when it is created, will be to coordinate military action between Russia and the United States, not any other party, “said John Kirby..