The Syrian Army, fighting terrorists in the Deir Ezzor province, has been subjected to strong counterattacks from the north where Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and US special task units are operating, the Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman Mj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said on Tuesday.
“Over the past day, the assault groups of the Syrian government troops, with the support of the Russian Aerospace Forces, crossed the Euphrates, and continued to expand the seized bridgehead east of Deir Ezzor, despite the stiff resistance of ISIL militants,” Konashenkov told reporters.
They have liberated some 60 square kilometers [some 23 sq. miles] on the eastern bank but have encountered obstacles, he said.
“According to Syrian commanders’ reports from the front line, the Syrian Army encounters the most severe counterattacks and fire from the northern direction. That is, where SDF forces and US special operations units are located, who are allegedly administering medical aid to these militants instead of liberating Raqqa. You don’t have to possess profound military knowledge to see consistency in all these ‘coincidences’,” the spokesman said.
Konashenkov urged the US-led coalition to not impede the fight against terrorism:
“As the end of ISIL in Syria comes ever closer, the more obvious it becomes who is really fighting ISIL and who has been imitating the fight for three years. If the US-led international coalition does not want to combat terrorism in Syria, then it should at least not impede those who are doing it continuously and efficiently.”
On September 5, the Black Sea Fleet Frigate Admiral Essen launched strikes with Kalibr cruise missiles on ISIL targets in Syria as part of an operation to free the city of Deir Ezzor. That same day the Syrian Army, backed by the Russian Aerospace Forces, liberated the city.
The US-led coalition of 68 nations started to carry out airstrikes against ISIL in Syria and Iraq in 2014, with the strikes in Syria not being authorized by the government of President Bashar Assad or the UN Security Council. Russia has been fighting terrorists in Syria at Assad’s request since September 30, 2015.