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MOSCOW, October 6. /TASS/. The US military base in al-Tanf protected by a "human shield" consisting of Syrian refugees has turned into a "black hole" on the Syrian-Jordanian state border from where mobile groups of the Islamic State (IS, terror group, outlawed in Russia) carry out sabotage and terror attacks, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said on Friday.
"The Pentagon’s representatives have repeatedly stated that instructors from the US, the UK and Norway staying there under the cover of tactical aviation and multiple-launch rocket systems are training New Syrian Army militants. However, in actual fact, al-Tanf has turned into a 100-kilometer ‘black hole’ on the Syrian-Jordanian state border. Instead of the New Syrian Army, mobile ISIL (former name of IS - TASS) groups, like a jack in the box, carry out sabotage and terrorist attacks against Syrian troops and civilians from there," he said.
Konashenkov noted that the illegal deployment of this military base to the Syrian-Jordanian border in April 2017 was publicly justified "by the need to conduct operations against ISIL." However, no information has been received about any US operations against the Islamic State during the six months of its existence.
He noted that the largest Rukban refugee camp accommodating more than 60,000 women and children from Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor is located in the "safe zone" close to the base. "Today refugees from Rukban are actually the hostages, to be more precise, a "human shield" for the US base. A reminder that, in addition to the Americans, such ‘protective’ barriers are used in Syria only by those whom they came to fight there, that is, terrorists," Konashenkov stressed.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, attacks against the Syrian army have repeatedly been carried out from the 50-kilometer zone around al-Tanf on the Syrian-Jordanian border where the "US military mission" is located. In the small hours of September 28, about 300 IS gunmen moved from the areas close to the inhabited community of Rukban to the city of Al-Qaryatayn in the Homs province using dozens of off-road vehicles. A large group of terrorists successfully bypassed all Syrian army posts near the inhabited communities of Harbat al-Shkhemi and al-Basiri, having the exact locations that can only be obtained through aerial reconnaissance. This terrorist unit tried to capture the dominant heights around the inhabited community of Al-Qaryatayn.
Simultaneously, on the same day, IS forces carried out a series of coordinated attacks against other Syrian army posts located along the strategically important Palmyra-Deir ez-Zor highway, along which supplies for the Syrian army in the Euphrates valley are brought and humanitarian aid is delivered. The Syrian army had to make considerable efforts to neutralize the IS mobile groups along the Palmyra-Deir ez-Zor highway and recapture the populated localities from the militants, the Russian Defense Ministry stressed.