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DOPPELADLER.COM • Syrienkrise - Erste Tote in der Türkei - Seite 29
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Re: Syrienkrise - Erste Tote in der Türkei

Verfasst: 25. Nov 2017, 11:40
von theoderich
Pentagon likely to announce US has 2,000 troops in Syria, not 500 – officials

The Pentagon is likely to announce in the coming days that there are about 2,000 US troops in Syria, rather than the 500 the military has said are in the war-torn country.

Two US officials detailed the new figure on Friday, as the military acknowledges that an accounting system has underreported the size of forces on the ground.

Separately, Donald Trump discussed developments in Syria with the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on Sunday, a spokesman for Erdoğan said.

The US military has publicly said it has about 500 troops in Syria, mostly supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces group of Kurdish and Arab militias fighting Islamic State in the north of the country.

The two officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the Pentagon could as early as Monday publicly announce the new figure, though there was always a possibility that last-minute changes could delay an announcement.

An accounting system, known as the Force Management Level (FML), was introduced in Iraq and Syria under the Obama administration as a way to exert control over the military.

But the numbers do not reflect the extent of the US commitment on the ground, since commanders often find ways to work around the limits, sometimes bringing in forces temporarily or hiring more contractors.

Current FML figures are officially 5,262 in Iraq and 503 in Syria, but officials have privately acknowledged that the real number for each country is more. In August, the Pentagon announced that there were 11,000 troops serving in Afghanistan, thousands more than it has previously stated.

The Pentagon said last December it would increase the number of authorized troops in Syria to 500. It is not clear how long the actual number has been at about 2,000.


Re: Syrienkrise - Erste Tote in der Türkei

Verfasst: 30. Nov 2017, 16:12
von theoderich
Attack in Egypt Highlights Need for U.S. Involvement in Region, Official Says (27. November 2017)

He said there are roughly 500 U.S. forces in Syria and around 5,000 in Iraq. Defense Department officials are working on providing a better run-down of U.S. forces in the countries as security considerations permit, the colonel said.


Re: Syrienkrise - Erste Tote in der Türkei

Verfasst: 07. Dez 2017, 01:12
von theoderich
Pentagon Announces Troop Levels in Iraq, Syria

The United States has about 5,200 troops in Iraq and 2,000 in Syria, and those numbers are trending down, Pentagon officials said here today.

Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Robert Manning announced the numbers in compliance with Defense Secretary James N. Mattis’ direction to give the American people a better idea of the commitment of U.S. forces in the region.

The officials arrived at the number using the same system used to quantify the troops in Afghanistan, Manning said.

“We seek to inform the American public with the imperative of operational security and denying the enemy any advantage,” Manning said.

“The secretary has been clear about improving our public reporting while increasing commanders’ ability to adapt to changing battlefield conditions to counter emerging threats,” the colonel said.

Coalition forces are still needed in the two countries, but they will focus now on the train, advise and assist mission. “As the terrorist group continues to lose territory, important work remains to ensure its lasting defeat,” Manning said.

Coalition efforts will also shift to ensure the terror group cannot regenerate or to ensure another group doesn’t try to emulate ISIS and its hideous philosophy.

“The United States will continue necessary counterterrorism and stabilization effort,” the colonel said. “The United States will sustain a conditions-based military presence in Syria to combat the threat of insurgent-led insurgency, prevent the resurgence of ISIS and to stabilize liberated areas.”

U.S. military personnel will also continue to support local forces in Syria to stabilize liberated territory. This includes restoring essential services, removing improvised explosive devices and booby traps and ensuring distribution of humanitarian aid. Allowing this to happen should set the conditions for refugees to return to their homes.


Re: Syrienkrise - Erste Tote in der Türkei

Verfasst: 15. Dez 2017, 14:14
von theoderich
U.S. Made Secret Deal With ISIS to Let Thousands of Fighters Flee Raqqa to Battle Assad in Syria, Former Ally Says

The U.S. military allowed thousands of Islamic State militant group (ISIS) fighters to flee from their de facto capital of Raqqa, Syria, in a secret deal that boosted the U.S. fight against the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to a former Pentagon-backed commander, who has since switched his allegiance to Turkey and who spoke to Reuters.

As the spokesperson for the Syrian Democratic Forces, a mostly Kurdish coalition of Arabs and ethnic minorities, Brigadier General Talal Silo acted as the face and the voice of the U.S.’s leading partner against ISIS in Syria. The U.S.-backed group successfully ousted ISIS from Raqqa in October. Weeks later, in mid-November, Silo handed himself over to Turkey, an enemy of Kurdish efforts in northern Syria. For the first time since his switch, the senior commander has spoken out and claimed that the U.S.-led coalition let significantly more fighters out of the embattled city than it previously admitted to.

“[An] agreement was reached for the terrorists to leave, about 4,000 people, them and their families,” Silo told Reuters Friday, claiming that all but about 500 who fled were ISIS fighters.

News of a covert agreement between the Syrian Democratic Forces and ISIS was first leaked last month after a BBC News investigation. The U.S.-led coalition denied being a party to any agreements, telling Newsweek it does not “make deals with terrorists,” but acknowledging that its partner had let convoys depart the city allegedly on humanitarian grounds. The BBC investigation, citing an unnamed “Western officer” who claimed he or she was present during the discussions, said 250 ISIS fighters left along with 3,500 family members, some of whom may have fled the country into neighboring Turkey.

Silo, who has not given any reason for his defection, said that his forces blocked all travel to Raqqa for three days in October, claiming ongoing clashes made movement too dangerous. In reality, he said, they were covering up the exit of thousands of ISIS fighters and hundreds of their family members.

“It was all theater,” Silo told Reuters.

“The announcement was cover for those who left for Deir Ezzor,” he added.



Raqqa’s dirty secret

The deal to let IS fighters escape from Raqqa – de facto capital of their self-declared caliphate – had been arranged by local officials. It came after four months of fighting that left the city obliterated and almost devoid of people. It would spare lives and bring fighting to an end. The lives of the Arab, Kurdish and other fighters opposing IS would be spared.

But it also enabled many hundreds of IS fighters to escape from the city. At the time, neither the US and British-led coalition, nor the SDF, which it backs, wanted to admit their part.

“We were scared from the moment we entered Raqqa,” he says. “We were supposed to go in with the SDF, but we went alone. As soon as we entered, we saw IS fighters with their weapons and suicide belts on. They booby-trapped our trucks. If something were to go wrong in the deal, they would bomb the entire convoy. Even their children and women had suicide belts on.”

The Kurdish-led SDF cleared Raqqa of media. Islamic State’s escape from its base would not be televised.

Publicly, the SDF said that only a few dozen fighters had been able to leave, all of them locals.

But one lorry driver tells us that isn't true.

    "We took out around 4,000 people including women and children - our vehicle and their vehicles combined. When we entered Raqqa, we thought there were 200 people to collect. In my vehicle alone, I took 112 people.”

Another driver says the convoy was six to seven kilometres long. It included almost 50 trucks, 13 buses and more than 100 of the Islamic State group’s own vehicles. IS fighters, their faces covered, sat defiantly on top of some of the vehicles.

Footage secretly filmed and passed to us shows lorries towing trailers crammed with armed men. Despite an agreement to take only personal weapons, IS fighters took everything they could carry. Ten trucks were loaded with weapons and ammunition.

The drivers point to a white truck being worked on in the corner of the yard. “Its axle was broken because of the weight of the ammo,” says Abu Fawzi.

This wasn’t so much an evacuation - it was the exodus of so-called Islamic State.

The SDF didn’t want the retreat from Raqqa to look like an escape to victory. No flags or banners would be allowed to be flown from the convoy as it left the city, the deal stipulated.

It was also understood that no foreigners would be allowed to leave Raqqa alive.

Back in May, US Defence Secretary James Mattis described the fight against IS as a war of “annihilation”.“Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive the fight to return home to north Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia, to Africa. We are not going to allow them to do so,” he said on US television.

But foreign fighters – those not from Syria and Iraq - were also able to join the convoy, according to the drivers. One explains:

    "There was a huge number of foreigners. France, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi, China, Tunisia, Egypt..."

Other drivers chipped in with the names of different nationalities.

In light of the BBC investigation, the coalition now admits the part it played in the deal. Some 250 IS fighters were allowed to leave Raqqa, with 3,500 of their family members.

“We didn’t want anyone to leave,” says Col Ryan Dillon, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, the Western coalition against IS.

“But this goes to the heart of our strategy, ‘by, with and through’ local leaders on the ground. It comes down to Syrians – they are the ones fighting and dying, they get to make the decisions regarding operations,” he says.

While a Western officer was present for the negotiations, they didn’t take an “active part” in the discussions. Col Dillon maintains, though, that only four foreign fighters left and they are now in SDF custody.

Along the route, many people we spoke to said they heard coalition aircraft, sometimes drones, following the convoy.

From the cab of his truck, Abu Fawzi watched as a coalition warplane flew overhead, dropping illumination flares, which lit up the convoy and the road ahead.

    "When the last of the convoy were about to cross, a US jet flew very low and deployed flares to light up the area. IS fighters shat their pants."

The coalition now confirms that while it did not have its personnel on the ground, it monitored the convoy from the air.


Re: Syrienkrise - Erste Tote in der Türkei

Verfasst: 15. Dez 2017, 19:57
von theoderich
WEAPONS OF THE ISLAMIC STATE



Balkan Arms Exports ‘Diverted to ISIS’: Report

The report by the British-based Conflict Armament Research, which has a mandate from the EU to trace weapons in conflict zones, confirmed the findings of Balkan Investigative Reporting Network’s series of investigations into weapons transfers to Syria.

BIRN earlier revealed how two major supply-lines, one funded by United States and the other by Saudi Arabia, have been moving large quantities of Soviet-style weapons from the Balkans to Syrian rebels in breach of international legal agreements on the arms trade.