The Saudis, who are now confirmed to fund ISIS, will mediate and guarantee the terrorists safe passage from Mosul, Iraq to Eastern Syria. What could go wrong?
The US and Saudi Arabia have now brokered an agreement with Islamic State militants in Iraq which will grant the terrorist group free passage out of Mosul region. RT cited an anonymous military-diplomatic source as saying “More than 9,000 Islamic State militants will be redeployed from Mosul to the eastern regions of Syria to carry out a major offensive operation, which involves capturing Deir ez-Zor and Palmyra.” The leadership of Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Directorate will mediate and guarantee the agreement of safe passage according to the report. Considering that Saudi Arabia has now been confirmed to be funding and supporting ISIS, it is unsurprising that they would be the ones to oversee this questionable exchange.
Mosul, a major Iraqi city, has been in ISIS hands since 2014 and is set to stage a battle to “retake” Mosul. The US confirmed in September that it would send 600 new troops to Iraq for the operation, set to take place at the end of this month, and is third such US troop level “boost” since April. The anonymous source said that the operation to retake Mosul would only target detached, vacated, or uninhabited buildings, serving mainly as a PR stunt to showcase the US’ “effectiveness” in battling the Islamic State.
The source went on to suggest that redeployment of IS militants is essential for the Obama administrations as “Washington must somehow counter Russia’s achievements in Syria, try to diminish their importance.” Indeed, since Russia entered the fray in September 2015, ISIS was beaten back in a matter of months and strategic cities, such as Palmyra, were snatched from ISIS hands. The US, which began airstrikes in Syria a year earlier in 2014, was unable to achieve such success. Indeed, the first year of US-led bombings in Syria allowed ISIS to triple their territory. The US also drew harsh criticism of local Syrians, who accused them of not actually targeting ISIS and pointed to the bombing campaign’s high civilian death toll. A group of independent journalists found that US airstrikes have caused significant civilian casualties, with 334 civilians killed and 338 injured in the 20 strikes that took place between April and June 2015. The US-led coalition have so far conducted 5,700 airstrikes against ISIS.
Also of interest are the planned destinations of the 9,000 ISIS “evacuees.” The cities mentioned as part of the upcoming ISIS offensive, Palmyra and Deir ez-Zor, are extremely strategic. Deir ez-Zor is home to only airbase in all of Eastern Syria, an airbase which also fell victim to an “accidental” US airstrike just weeks ago. The strike killed 62 Syria soldiers and the Islamic State attacked minutes later – suggesting their prior knowledge that the strike would take place. Palmyra, also known as Tadmur, is an ancient city and UNESCO world heritage site, though its strategic importance lies in its central position, connecting Western Syria and the Syrian capital Damascus to the East. Palmyra was also one of Russia’s and Syria’s greatest, recent victories as Syrian forces, with Russian support, retook the city earlier this year. With the US and England poised to directly engage Russia and Syria in the coming weeks, that is if Saturday’s last-ditch effort to save diplomacy fails, an influx of 9,000 Islamic State militants will surely add to the chaos in Syria’s five-year-long conflict.
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