WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States, Russia, Iran and other players are running out of room to avoid direct conflicts as territory ruled by the Daesh terrorist group (banned in Russia) shrinks and fighting becomes more intense, the private intelligence firm Soufan Group warned in a report on Friday.
"As the battlefield shrinks geographically, it is intensifying geopolitically; with the risk of inadvertent direct conflict between Russian and US forces, as well as their proxies rising to its highest," the report stated.
On one side of the multi-dimensional conflict, Russia and Iranian support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad are deeply tied to the national self-interests of both Moscow and Tehran, the report explained.
Russia wants to ensure and enhance its military footprint in the region, while Iran wants to strengthen its western-bending arc of influence and logistics that run through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon, the release said.
The report cited last week’s shelling of Syrian government units, including Russian special forces, by US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), as well as the bombing of SDF forces and embedded US special-operations units, by Russian planes as one example of conflicts that are likely to intensify.
On September 21, Russian military spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov warned US commanders that Russia would target SDF and US personnel operating near the city of Deir ez-Zor, if Russian and Syrian forces continued to come under fire from those areas, according to the report.
Both sides are essentially rushing to set facts on the ground before endgame negotiations; a rush reminiscent of the last months of World War II, though on a much smaller scale, the report concluded.