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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Illegal US Base at At Tanf, used to train terrorists, fully blocked by Syrian troops

US Base in At Tanf Fully Blocked by Syrian Troops; chief of Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov launches serious accusations against US
The US base in Syria’s At Tanf is fully blocked by the Syrian army, Russian General Staff Chief Army General Valery Gerasimov told the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper in an interview issued on Wednesday.
He said that when the blockade was not so intense, some 350 militants left the area.
“There was a threat of seizure of the city Al Quaryatayn in Syria. Their forces were defeated. It is clear that the militants are being trained there. Moreover, there is a refugee camp Al-Rukban there,” Gerasimov added.
Russia says the US base is illegal and that it and the area around it have become “a black hole” where militants operate unhindered.
The United States says the Tanf facility is a temporary base used to train partner forces to fight against Islamic State. Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning on Tuesday said Washington remained committed to killing off Islamic State and denying it safe havens and the ability to carry out strikes.
But Major-General Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, said Moscow wanted to know how around 300 Islamic State militants in pickup trucks had passed through the US-controlled area and tried to block the highway between Damascus and Deir al-Zor used to supply Syrian forces.
He said the US had not yet given an explanation.
The US is hosting training camps for militant groups in Syria, including former ISIS fighters who fled from Raqqa, said the head of Russia’s General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, citing data obtained by aerial surveillance.
The US forces have effectively turned their military base near the town of al-Tanf in southeastern Syria into a terrorists’ training camp, Gerasimov said in an interview to Russia’s Komsomolskaya Pravda daily on Wednesday.
“According to satellite and other surveillance data, terrorist squads are stationed there. They are effectively training there,” Gerasimov said, when asked about what’s going on at the base.
The general also said the US has been using a refugee camp in northeast Syria, outside the town of Al-Shaddadah in Al-Hasakah province, as a training camp for the remnants of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorist group, including those evacuated from Raqqa, and other militants.
“This is essentially ISIS,” Gerasimov said. “They change their colors, take different names – the ‘New Syrian Army’ and others. They are tasked with destabilizing the situation.”

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