UK Prime Minister David Cameron has created a phantom army of 70,000 moderate fighters in Syria to justify joining bombing operations, award-winning war correspondent Robert Fisk wrote in the Independent on Monday.
Fisk has covered Middle Eastern conflicts for over 35 years, and is currently covering the Syrian conflict, both independently and embedded with Syrian troops.
"At one point last week, one of Cameron’s satraps was even referring to this phantom army as 'ground troops.' I doubt if there are 700 active 'moderate' foot soldiers in Syria – and I am being very generous, for the figure may be nearer 70 – let alone 70,000. And the Syrian Kurds are not going to conquer ISIS (ISIL) for us; they’re too busy trying to survive the assaults of our Turkish allies," Fisk wrote.
"Yet after losing at least 60,000 soldiers – killed largely by ISIS and the al-Nusra Front – the Syrian army would be hard put to fight off an assault on Damascus by Dave Cameron’s 70,000 'moderates.' If this ghost army existed, it would already have captured Damascus and hurled Bashar al-Assad from power."
Fisk added that ISIL attacks seek to destroy Western societies from within by turning them against Muslim communities, rather than destroying them through an armed conquest.