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Published On: Fri, May 19th, 2017

US-led coalition bombs unspecified “pro-regime forces” in Syria

Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) : US-led coalition air forces carried out air strikes against what was described as pro-regime forces near An-Tanf in Syria on May 18, in one of Syria’s de-escalation zones, allegedly because they posed a threat to “coalition forces”. nsnbc asked for details and has thus far received three mails showing an astounding lack of detail.

Bashar Al-Jaafari_Geneva_Switzerland_Syria_may 2017On may 19 nsnbc international contacted the CJTF-Operation Inherent Resolve Public Affairs Office Press Desk and asked for details about the air strikes against “pro-regime forces” in An Tanf near the Jordanian border.

The questions asked were: “Dear Sir / Ms. Our newspaper would like to cover the widely reported airstrike carried out by coalition forces in southern Syria yesterday. Information is very sketchy to say the least. Could you be so kind to help us by answering the following:

  • Date, time, geographical coordinates of the strike.
  • Name of the group of combatants that was targeted.
  • Reason for carrying out the air strike.
  • A couple of explanatory words to convey to our readers, such as circumstances that led to the decision to carry out the operation etc.. Looking forward to hearing from you.

The response was:

The Coalition struck pro-regime forces posing a threat to Coalition forces inside an established de-confliction zone northwest of An-Tanf, Syria, May 18. The strike was conducted in response to a military threat consisting of tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, and technical vehicles. Following repeated unheeded requests to withdraw, Coalition aircraft conducted a show of force and fired warning shots prior to executing the strike that destroyed construction equipment and a tank. Coalition forces have been operating in the An-Tanf area for many months training and advising vetted partner forces engaged in the fight against ISIS. Coalition forces will continue to defend themselves against ISIS or any other threat to Coalition or partnered forces in the area.

V/R, CJTF-Operation Inherent Resolve Public Affairs Office Press Desk

Since non of our questions were answered in this reply we have sent the following mail and questions to CJTF-Operation Inherent Resolve Public Affairs Office Press Desk and asked for clarification. We are convinced that our readers would appreciate answers containing specific details and information in response to specific questions rather than cut and paste press statements.

We have therefore send a third mail to the CJTF-Operation Inherent Resolve Public Affairs Office Press Desk with the following text:

Dear NN. I am astonished by your lack of detail despite precise and specific questions.  I do not want to misrepresent you but what I can understand from our correspondence is that you:

  • Either do not want to, or cannot specify “exactly” what you mean with “pro-regime forces”.. I asked specifically about the name of the organization, unit, etc… I cannot believe that you want to say that you bombed combatants without knowing what militia, military unit, etc they belonged to? Please specify.
  • You wrote “following repeated requests to withdraw” … WHOM did you ask to withdraw, HOW, name of the unit, name of contact person, how  was this demand to withdraw communicated?
  • EXACTLY what forces has the CJTF been cooperating with? Name of organizations? Under what agreement? Under what authorization with regard to international law? Based on whose decision…
  • Coalition forces will continue to defend themselves against ISIS – but it wasn’t ISIS that was bombed but by you but unnamed, unspecified pro-government forces”..  Were it Popular Self Defense Forces? Hezbollah? Or whom did you bomb?
  • I cannot believe that you conducted airstrikes without knowing this information – so shall we understand your statement and lack of detail to the effect that you do not want to disclose this information? If so, why not? And if that is the case – would you be so kind to get us in touch with someone who has the competence, responsibility and authority to know such details and convey them to us?

So far all that we can write is a copy of your statement and the remark that our questions despite being asked three times, remain unanswered. I’m looking forward to hearing from you, with APPROPRIATE answers.. at the earliest time at your convenience.

With warm regards
Chris (Christof Lehmann, editor-in-chief, nsnbc international)
NB.: If you want to call me, on of off protocol, my number is +45 71 486 488

Speaking in Geneva, Switzerland, Syrian UN Ambassador Dr. Bashar Al-Jaafari denounced the air strikes in Al-Tanf as “an act of state terrorism”. Syrian military sources reported that the US-led coalition attacked one of the Syrian army’s military points on al-Tanf road in the Syrian Badia. The attack, stated Syrian military sources, took place at 16:30 pm on Thursday. Several persons were reportedly killed and others were wounded in addition to causing material damage.

The Syrian military source described the attack as “blatant”, saying it uncovers the fake claims of the international coalition about fighting terrorism and reveals the undoubted reality of the Zionist-U.S. project in the region. “The attempt to justify this act of aggression by saying that the targeted forces failed to respond to the warning to stop advancing is completely rejected,” the source stressed.

“The Syrian Arab Army,” the source said, “is fighting terrorism on its territory, and no party whatsoever has the right to determine the course and destination of the army’s operations against the terrorist organizations, mainly ISIS and al-Qaeda.” The source added that “those who claim to be fighting [those two terrorist organizations] should direct strikes against them and not against the Syrian Arab Army, which is the only legitimate force that is fighting terrorism along with its allies and friends.”

The Syrian military source asserted that the army will continue performing its duty of fighting ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra and defending its entire territory, and will not be discouraged from doing this “sacred” duty by these attempts of the so-called international coalition.

Needless to say that there is a considerable divergence in the narratives put forward by Dr. Al-Jaafar and the Syrian military on one hand, and the CJTF-Operation Inherent Resolve Public Affairs Office Press Desk on the other hand and that we are looking forward to receiving full and detailed answers – presuming that the US-led coalition knows what it is doing when it drops bombs in Syria.

CH/L – nsnbc 19.05.2017

About the Author

- Dr. Christof Lehmann is the founder and editor of nsnbc. He is a psychologist and former independent political consultant on conflict, conflict resolution and a wide range of other political issues. In March 2013 he established nsnbc as a daily, independent, international on-line newspaper. He can be contacted at nsnbc international at nsnbc.wordpress@gmail.com

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