Pentagon sends US forces to Syria amid Russian Federation threat

Sergio Conner
September 9, 2018

Meanwhile, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said the Marines deployed to at-Tanf would conduct a multi-day exercise using live ammunition.

Another of the admitted objectives of the us presence at al-Tanf is to recapture the strategic border crossing of Abu Kamal, which is under Syrian government control. The base is used by USA special forces to train Syrian fighters who are confronting Islamic State militants.

"The United States does not seek to fight the Russians, the government of Syria or any groups that may be providing support to Syria in the Syrian civil war".

More than 100 U.S. troops began an unexpected exercise in southern Syria on Friday in direct response to a series of Russian military threats, according to a United States defense official.

With the pending attack on the province, there is concern that Russian Federation may take advantage of the assault to conduct other offensive operations, such as at the military base of Al Tanf.

U.S. Command has rejected Russia's plans to strike purported terrorists there, saying it doesn't want to fight but "will not hesitate" to use force to defend U.S. or allied forces.

In the absolute worst-case scenario where the US coalition intervenes against Syrian and Russian forces which massacre civilians or deploy chemical weapons in Idlib, At Tanf would certainly represent an important strategic element in a wider conflict.

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Earlier this year, roughly 40 United States troops held off around 500 Russian mercenaries and pro-Syrian regime forces, reportedly killing hundreds.

So far, no buildup of Russian ground forces has been observed in recent days, officials said. Both have said they have a hotline to avoid direct conflict. Russian warplanes have already begun preparing the battlefield with intense airstrikes against rebel positions in Idlib despite warnings from the United States, United Nations, and Turkey about the danger of a humanitarian catastrophe.

According to the report, that was followed by a letter sent Thursday to Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, the commander of USA forces in Syria, warning that Russian Federation planned to carry out "precision strikes" near Tanf against ISIL militants, a warning that prompted Funk to speed up plans to dispatch additional troops to the base.

Russian military officials first informed the US on September 1 through a special communication channel "that they meant to enter the At Tanf deconfliction zone to pursue terrorists", Brown said. Senior military officials, including Defense Secretary James Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are aware of the warnings, CNN said.

Much attention is now focused on the Syrian military's pending assault against Idlib province, which will include Russian air support.

"In case the armed terrorist groups refuse to lay down weapons, refuse to leave Syrian territory to go back to where they came from, the Syrian government is prepared", Jaafari said. The US has long demanded everyone stay away from this base, except rebels of course. However, he warned that it would not hesitate to use force to defend the USA and its coalition partners.

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