- U.S. Marines Conduct Live-Fire Drills With Syrian ‘Rebels’ In Rare Display Aimed At Russia
by Tyler Durden, https://www.zerohedge.com/
On Thursday an anti-Assad group in Syria’s south confirmed to Reuters via its ‘rebel’ commander that it is conducting rare military exercises with American forces in order to “send a strong message to Russia and Iran that the Americans and the rebels intend to stay and confront any threats to their presence,” according to a new Reuters report.
The anti-Assad commander, Colonel Muhanad al Talaa, is part of the Pentagon-backed Maghawir al Thawra group now conducting eight days of “live-fire and ground assault” drills that involve “hundreds” of U.S. troops and allied Syrian insurgents cooperating together.
“These exercises have a big importance and have beefed up the defenses of the area and raised the combat capabilities and morale and that of civilians in the area,” Talaa said in a statement from Tanf.
The US appears to be responding to the major Russian naval and amphibious assault drills along Syria’s coast from last week. This also comes after Moscow warned its forces could attack in the area near US-occupied At Tanf in pursuit of al-Qaeda linked jihadists that Russia says hides out under US protected areas.
The U.S. military has said in recent statements that it is not seeking military confrontation with Russia, and a spokesman said US coalition commanders maintain “deconfliction” channels with Moscow’s forces to prevent “miscommunication or escalate tension”.