Backed by Russian air strikes, the Syrian military, including Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah troops, are preparing to take back the Idlib and Hama countryside from the CIA’s jihadist mercenaries.
“The (Russian) air strikes will in the near future be accompanied by ground advances by the Syrian army and its allies,” a source in Lebanon told Reuters.
“The vanguard of Iranian ground forces began arriving in Syria: soldiers and officers specifically to participate in this battle. They are not advisors … we mean hundreds with equipment and weapons. They will be followed by more,” the source added.
Iraqis will also participate, the source said.
In May the al-Qaeda aligned jihadist group that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, al-Nusra, and Jaish al-Fatah captured the last Syrian government held area in Idlib.
In March Jaish al-Fatah (the Army of Conquest) captured the provincial capital and the following month took Jisr al-Shughur. It also took al-Mastumah, a large military base in the area.
More recently al-Nusra, Ahrar al Sham, Jund al Aqsa, and the Turkistan Islamic Party targeted shiite villages in the Idlib province.
Jaish al-Fatah launched an offensive in July to take neighboring Latakia and Hama provinces. Latakia is home to the al-Assad family. The Tartus province lies south of Latakia. The Russians have a naval facility on the Mediterranean in the province’s capitol city.
Jaish al-Fatah has also fought to take the Sahl al-Ghab, a strategic area that lies between Latakia, Hama and Idlib provinces. Joureen in Sahl al-Ghab is a supply line for the Syrian Army.
Factions involved in the offensive included al-Nusra, al-Haq Brigade, Jund al-Aqsa, al-Sunna Army, the Islamic Ahrar Movement and others.
Russia Targets CIA Proxies
On Wednesday, after Russia conducted air strikes in Syria, the United States said CIA proxy groups were hit.
“U.S. officials said it was unclear if Moscow directly targeted a location held by the CIA-backed fighters in western Syria because of their association with the U.S.’s covert program to fund, arm and train the rebels,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
The Pentagon did not specify which groups were targeted, nor did it mention the close association between the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the Syrian Revolutionaries Front (SRF) and Harakat al-Hazm and al-Nusra and the Islamic State.
John McCain, the senator from Arizona, said Russia had in fact targeted CIA mercenaries.
“Their initial strikes were against the individuals and the groups that have been funded and trained by our CIA, in a credible flaunting of any kind of cooperation or effort to conceal what (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s priority is — and that is, of course, to prop up (Syrian President) Bashar Assad,” McCain said Thursday.
The corporate media has reported numerous instances of supposedly “vetted” CIA mercenaries cooperating with ISIS and other jihadist groups:
- In May The Wall Street Journal reported SRF had joined al-Qaeda in the Golan.
- In July Al Jazeera reported an ISIS leader as saying he purchases weapons from the FSA.
- In August 2014 The Washington Post said al-Nusra worked with unnamed CIA-backed rebel groups to capture the Quneitra border crossing with Israel and abduct a large number of Fijian peacekeepers.
- Last September Harakat Hazm reportedly fought alongside al-Qaeda in Aleppo, according to The Los Angeles Times.
- The same month, the SRF declared a peace truce with the Islamic State and the following month SRF members defected to ISIS.
- In November a number of FSA members also defected to the Islamic State and condemned US airstrikes.
- In December a German journalist embedded with the Islamic State told France 24 the group receives U.S. arms from the FSA.
- Also in December, The New York Times admitted the FSA is under the control of ISIS.
- In April, Reuters reported the U.S.-armed FSA is allied with al-Nusra in northern Syria.
The Russians are targeting jihadists in Syria and most are supported directly and indirectly by the United States.
The U.S. will continue to insist the threat in Syria is limited to ISIS and Bashar al-Assad and will argue, despite a large amount of evidence to the contrary, that the proxy war in Syria is a radical Islamist operation and there are virtually no moderate “rebels” involved in the fighting.