MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The US base in Syria’s al-Tanf is fully blocked by the Syrian army, Russian General Staff Chief Army General Valery Gerasimov told the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper in an interview issued on Wednesday.
“In At-Tanf the area is blocked by the Syrian troops … The most important thing is that we witness movement of militants from there,” Gerasimov said.
He said that when the blockade was not so intense, some 350 militants left the area.
“There was a threat of seizure of the city Al Quaryatayn in Syria. Their forces were defeated. It is clear that the militants are being trained there. Moreover, there is a refugee camp Al-Rukban there,” Gerasimov added.
"That is a territory controlled by the Kurds and there is also a US military base there. Moreover, some 800 people more arrived at the Shaddadi camp from the east bank of the Euphrates, from the area where the Kurds carried out an offensive… In fact, that is IS [Islamic State or Daesh]," he said.
From his point of view, after the training former Daesh terrorists become members of the so-called New Syrian Army, whose task is to destabilize situation in the country. Gerasimov added that now some 750 militants remain at the Shaddadi camp and some 350 more — at the At-Tanf camp.
"It seems to me that the coalition has not set the goal to eliminate IS then [before the start of the Russian operation in Syria] and also it does not set it now," Gerasimov said.
He pointed out that the US-led coalition was carrying out from eight to 10 airstrikes every day while the Russian Aerospace Forces were carrying out 60-70 airstrikes per day.
"During the most intense periods of the operation [the Russian Aerospace Forces] carried out 120-140 airstrikes per day… Only with such methods can one break the back of the international terrorism in Syria. From eight to 10 airstrikes per day? The coalition seems to have had other goals in Syria. Their main goal was to fight against [Syrian President Bashar] Assad, not IS," Gerasimov added.