05:38 GMT23 January 2021
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    The report of the alleged evacuation of Daesh field commanders by the US Air Force deserves further examination experts told Sputnik. While the evacuees could have been US informers or Daesh defectors fleeing the region amid the Syrian Arab Army’s advance, it appears what occurred is enough to launch an investigation.

    If the information on the evacuation of Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) field commanders by the US military is proven to be true and there's confirmation that there was some kind of direct US support for the terrorist organization, it will prompt a "political earthquake" in the United States, Israeli political analyst Avigdor Eskin told Sputnik.

    On September 7, a military and diplomatic source told Sputnik that US Air Force helicopters had evacuated Daesh field commanders from Deir ez-Zor to northern Syria. "If the current information will lead us to the proven conclusion of their direct collaboration with Daesh, this will be like a huge atomic explosion," Eskin emphasized.

    Daesh Evacuation Report "More Than Enough to Start Investigation"

    According to the political analyst, one needs more sources and details before jumping to conclusions while at the same time Eskin believes the reported information "is more than enough to start an investigation."

    Speaking to Radio Sputnik on September 9, Karen Kwiatkowski, a retired US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel turned anti-neoconservative activist, noted that the alleged evacuation appears to be a standard operating procedure for CIA black ops looking to cover their trail after an operation.

    "Mrs. Kwiatkowski apparently has an experience and possesses profound knowledge, but she can only guess in this case," Eskin opined. "We should rather encourage the US Congress to check the matter in the Intelligence Committee."

    When asked whether the CIA could have taken the liberty of conducting the alleged operation without Donald Trump's authorization, the analyst answered that the secret agency "would have to report to the president and it seems very unlikely that Donald Trump would have approved any friendly move towards Daesh."

    There could be special circumstances: the evacuees may have been US informers, the analyst surmised, adding that "this again is a proposition with no factual basis."

    Philip Giraldi, a former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer at the CIA, echoed Eskin.

    "I have no special knowledge of this incident but I believe it is best explained as a defection of a group of ISIS [Daesh] leaders to US forces as the Syrian Army closes in," Giraldi told Sputnik.

    "They have probably agreed to share all the information that they have on their group and were therefore removed by the American military for debriefing before eventually being returned to their own countries to face the consequences of their treason," the CIA veteran suggested, "They would certainly regard that as a better option than being killed by the Syrians."

    The expert confirmed that "this sort of thing has been done before where double agents are removed from combat zones, both in Afghanistan and earlier in Vietnam."

    This photo released on Monday, Sept 4, 2017 by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian troops and pro-government gunmen standing on pickup trucks with heavy machine-guns mounted on them, in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour, Syria
    © AP Photo / SANA
    This photo released on Monday, Sept 4, 2017 by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian troops and pro-government gunmen standing on pickup trucks with heavy machine-guns mounted on them, in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour, Syria

    Negligence? US Weapons Repeatedly Fell Into Terrorists' Hands

    This is not the first time that the CIA and Pentagon have been accused of indirectly playing into Daesh's hands.

    In his May report RIA Novosti contributor Alexander Khrolenko assumed that there was something fishy about Washington's inability to control the proliferation of its weapons across the Middle East and Africa.

    Citing non-governmental human rights organization Amnesty International and Western mainstream media reports, the journalist called attention to cases when the US military and intelligence services either lost track of weapons and equipment sent to conflict zones or delivered them to wrong recipients. One way or another, some of these arms ended up in the hands of terrorists, including Daesh.

    According Eskin, it looks more like negligence rather than a well-defined plan. While the US, especially under the Obama administration, sought to oust Bashar al-Assad and even "helped some terrorists who fought the Assad regime in Syria," "there is still no evidence that [the US-led coalition] was assisting Daesh wittingly."

    Giraldi shares a similar stance: "The American weapons that ISIS [Daesh] has obtained were captured from the Iraqis and also turned over by rebels who were trained by the US and then switched sides."

    Still, Eskin admitted that the CIA had indeed "turned a blind eye" to the smuggling of weapons from Libya to Daesh "at the time of bloody revolution there."

    On June 21, 2013 The New York Times reported that large piles of weapons belonging to the Libyan armed forces had been transported to "rebels in Syria." The media outlet warned that "these secretive transfers" financed largely by Qatar were difficult to monitor or control. The article added that extremists "aligned with al-Qaeda" were most likely buying these weapons from Syrian rebels.

    Daesh, previously being known as al-Qaeda in Iraq or Islamic State, changed its name to "the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) in 2013.

    "Up until now we have been talking about some readiness not to get upset if some weapons slipped from the 'moderates' to Daesh and Nusra," Eskin highlighted, "But we should remember that US military and intelligence had no mandate from the White House to train, to arm or to finance Daesh directly or indirectly."

    Assad Mustn't Go: White House No Longer Seeking to Oust Syrian President

    Both Eskin and Giraldi pointed out that in contrast to the Middle Eastern policy pursued Barack Obama, the Trump administration is not seeking to oust the Syrian president.

    "The US has given up on trying to remove al-Assad [from power] and is no longer training rebels," the CIA veteran underscored.

    According to Giraldi "the generals in Washington would like war in the Middle East particularly against Iran because that is what generals do." He added that "the most powerful force on foreign policy in the region is the Israel Lobby, which has tremendous power in the media and also with [the US] Congress."

    For his part, the Israeli political analyst emphasized that "the overall line in the White House and even in the State Department is not to take any further steps against the current regime" in Syria.

    Still, according to Eskin, "one can suspect that there are some powerful people in the intelligence community who want to undermine Trump's policies in Syria especially."

    The alleged evacuation of Daesh field commanders by the US Air Force took place on August 26 and August 28, according to Sputnik's military and diplomatic source familiar with the matter.

    In the course of the first operation a "US Air Force helicopter" had reportedly evacuated two Daesh field commanders of "European origin" with members of their families from an area located to the north-west of Deir ez-Zor at night.

    Two days later, American helicopters transferred 20 Daesh field commanders and militants close to them from an area south-eastern of the city of Deir ez-Zor. Reportedly, the US choppers transported the fighters in the direction of northern Syria.

    On September 5, the SAA backed by Russian Aerospace Forces broke the three-year Daesh blockade  of Deir ez-Zor. The Russian strikes conducted simultaneously by aviation and a warship destroyed Daesh fortified areas, underground tunnels, artillery positions and ammunition depots near Deir ez-Zor.

    On September 14 Kalibr cruise missiles launched by two Russian submarines in the Mediterranean obliterated the terrorists' command centers, communications lines and ammunition depots to the east of the city. The same day the SAA entered Deir ez-Zor. The Syrian government forces also have managed to liberate the al-Tym and al-Shula oilfields and take control of the Deir ez-Zor airbase.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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