12:32 GMT13 July 2020
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    The US State Department issued a statement late on Friday, saying it was "concerned" by leaflets that were reportedly dropped by government aircraft in the province of Daraa. Retired Brigadier Ali Maqsud told Sputnik that the US is creating obstacles for the Syrian army to continue its liberation of occupied regions.

    A Syrian military expert, retired Brigadier Ali Maqsud, told Sputnik that "the Syrian army has provided the necessary training to conduct a military liberation operation in southern Syria. Now the militants have a last chance to lay down their arms and surrender.”

    He added that the US threats are aimed at stopping the army from conducting the upcoming operation.

    "American statements are another attempt to draw another red line for the Syrian army. The reason for that is that Israel is worried about the fact that the Syrian army is getting closer to the occupied territory; there is a danger of involving Israel in clashes,” Maqsud said.

    He went on to say that the army will not abandon its plans, as it already has experience in erasing such "red lines" in Palmyra and the desert part of Syria.

    “After the liberation of East Ghouta, the army has the opportunity and strength to conduct other operations. Naturally, it was decided to further liberate those areas that are still under the control of terrorists,” the brigadier said.

    The military operation was temporarily postponed at the request of the government in the province of Daraa to enable militants to surrender without a battle. Such a scenario was envisaged in order to save the region from fighting.

    Earlier, the US expressed concern over incoming information about Syrian government troops preparing for an offensive operation in the zone of de-escalation in the south-west of Syria. 

    It warned Damascus against violation of the ceasefire. This statement was made by State Department spokesman Heather Nauert.

    A military-diplomatic source told Sputnik that rebels of al-Nusra Front and the Free Syrian Army are expanding their control over territories in southern Syria with the goal of creating autonomy under the patronage of the United States. 

    The militants plan to launch a coordinated attack on government forces in all three southern provinces.

    Earlier in the day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that Daesh*-linked terror groups were seen at the Syria’s southern borders with Israel. The area known as the al-Tanf region is controlled by the US.

    "We are witnessing an increasing number of armed groups appearing in this region, including the Rukban refugee camp, which according to our information, is related in one way or another to Daesh and other extremist structures," he noted.

    Lavrov expressed hope that reports on the withdrawal of US troops from Syria's southern base would come to fruition.

    "The military presence there has no sense, from a military point of view," the Russian Foreign Minister said.

    The United States occupies a 34-mile zone around its military base in al-Tanf, where it trains and equips armed Syrian opposition forces.

    The Rukban refugee camp is located about 11 miles south of al-Tanf and inside the US-controlled zone on the Syrian-Jordanian border.

    *Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist group banned in Russia.

    The views and opinions expressed by Ali Maqsud are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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


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