Syrian refugees fear returning to the Syrian town of Palmyra in Homs province while US forces are still in the vicinity of the region as well as ISIS terrorists, the regional governor has said.
“Few people have returned – only 200 families… People are worried. They are afraid to return to Palmyra as well as to Sukhnah because they are close to the [illegal] US air base of at al-Tanf. There are still US troops there as well as units of Daesh [ISIS] roaming the desert,” said Talal Barazi.
He further added that the Syrians would feel safe only when ISIS terrorists have been eliminated and the US soldiers leave al-Tanf.
Syria has been plunged into an imperialist war of aggression since 2011, with the government battling numerous jihadist groups and terrorist organizations. Syrian forces, backed by Russia, regained control over Palmyra in March 2017.
Russian political scientist Stanislav Tarasov, an expert on problems in countries in the Middle East and the Caucasus, has offered his assessment of the situation in Syria.
“Victory in Syria has already been achieved, and this is said not only by the Russian military command but also by the US Armed Forces, and UN representatives say most of the territories are free and controlled by the government,“Tarasov said.
“There is a sense that the ‘caliphate’ is preparing for a war without territory. It is no coincidence that they are creating ‘floating centers’, moving partly to some hard-to-reach areas in Syria.”
“It is possible that they will try to gain a foothold in Iraqi territory, and are partly already in the territory of Afghanistan,” concluded the analyst.
ISIS still controls small pockets in eastern Syria, but have been virtually defeated. They still hold territory in Afghanistan and have a strong presence in Iraq and Libya too. This is a far cry of their former self when they controlled nearly 50% of territory in Syria and huge swathes in Iraq. Just recently it was reported that ISIS figurehead Al-Baghdadi has been wounded out of action and replaced.
It is not unfounded that Syrians are weary of the US and ISIS presence in the area. Throughout the war in Syria, numerous cases have been documented of US direct and proxy forces coordinating operations with Islamic State terrorists. It wasn’t until Russia militarily intervened in Syria on the Syrian government’s request in September 2015 that ISIS began to suffer critical defeats and loss of infrastructure.