Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Raf Sanchez / The Telegraph – 2016-09-17 00:00:22
US Troops in Syria Flee US-Backed Rebels in Syria
FSA Chasing US Special Forces Out of Al Rai, Syria
US Troops Flee Syrian Town After US-Backed Rebels Threaten to Kill Them
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(September 16, 2016) — A small group of US special forces troops entered the Syrian town of al-Rai, already occupied by Turkish troops and were quickly forced to flee from the city, amid vocal threats from the Free Syrian Army (FSA), accusing the US of being “crusaders” and vowing to “slaughter” them.
The FSA, of course, is the centerpiece “moderate” rebel faction of all US cheerleaders of the Syrian Civil War, and heavily backed by the US throughout the war. They are also, interestingly, Turkish-backed, and were indeed brought into this particular region with Turkey as part of the invasion.
Yet all it took was a handful of US troops, five or six according to some rebel sources, showing up to help Turkey with the planned invasion of nearby al-Bab to rile up these “moderates” into threatening to kill the US troops credibly enough that they were actually withdrawn from the area.
While a lot of the rhetoric at the rally demanding the US pullout centered on them not liking Christians and believing Americans to be “infidels,” there is speculation that a lot of the anti-US sentiment is because the US is so closely aligned with the Kurdish YPG, who both Turkey and the FSA are planning to fight.
Indeed, secondary reports indicated that Kurdish YPG forces are flying American flags over the town of Tel Abyad in an effort to try to dissuade Turkey from attacking certain targets within it.
The Pentagon has warned against the practice, but while Turkey seems placated enough to work directly with the US on their assorted wars in Syria, the FSA for whatever reason will brook no cooperation, at least in between accepting huge caches of CIA-provided weapons.
American Commandos ‘Forced to Run Away’
From US-backed Syrian Rebels
Raf Sanchez / The Telegraph
(September 16, 2016) — Video footage appears to show US commandos fleeing a Syrian town under a barrage of abuse and insults hurled at them by fighters from the American-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebel group.
The video appears to be the first evidence of US Special Forces cooperating with Turkish troops in their battle against Islamic State (ISIL).
The incident illustrates the complex web of alliances and enmities in Syria, where many of America’s allies are fighting each other and some rebel groups that receive US support still harbour strong anti-American sentiments.
The footage shows a crowd of rebel fighters in the town of al-Rai near the Turkish border, which was captured from ISIL by Syrian rebel groups with the backing of Turkey. Turkey, which launched a military incursion into Syria in late August, has been backing the FSA.
Full video of #FSA chasing #US #SOF of #AlRai #Aleppo
“We’re going to slaughter u. Ur coming to invade #Syria” pic.twitter.com/qy7fIVeG8x
— Riam Dalati (@Dalatrm) September 16, 2016
The fighters scream anti-American chants as a column of pick-up trucks carrying US commandos drives away from them.
“Christians and Americans have no place among us,” shouts one man in the video. “They want to wage a crusader war to occupy Syria.”
Another man calls out: “The collaborators of America are dogs and pigs. They wage a crusader war against Syria and Islam.”
The US troops are not wearing traditional uniform but they carry American weapons and are wearing the distinctive round helmets favoured by US Special Forces.
Another video shows the US troops looking nonchalant and waving at the camera even as some of the rebels tell them to leave.
#ABD askerleri ve onlara baÄŸlÄ± gruplar #Ã‡obanbey’den boyle kovuldu (2) #Halep pic.twitter.com/8q70UZj9dW
— Levent Kemal (@ValkryV) September 16, 2016
Charles Lister, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, said the confrontation was sparked when FSA rebels accused the Americans of supporting the Kurdish militia known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
“Heated tempers and YPG relations aside, this was a big mistake by FSA. But it does go to show the diplomacy now required to make it work,” he said.
Turkey is vehemently opposed to the YPG and its FSA proxies have fought with Kurdish fighters even though they are in theory both US allies committed to fighting together against ISIL.
It was not clear if the confrontation in al-Rai was spontaneous or ordered by senior FSA figures or even their Turkish allies.
The US troops are believed to have been operating alongside Turkish forces in northern Syria. Video footage shows the American trucks sharing a road with Turkish tanks.
A spokesman for US Central Command said they were aware of the video and looking into the incident.
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