US special forces chased out of Syrian town by American-backed rebels
Under threat from a large group of soldiers belonging to the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army, U.S. special forces were driven out of a Syrian town on the Turkish border as members of the FSA taunted and screamed at them.
Here's the video:
Full video of #FSA chasing #US #SOF of #AlRai #Aleppo— Riam Dalati (@Dalatrm) September 16, 2016
"We're going to slaughter u. Ur coming to invade #Syria" pic.twitter.com/qy7fIVeG8x
Good thing we've got such smart guys running our foreign policy.
Video footage appears to show US commandos fleeing a Syrian town under a barrage of abuse and insults hurled at them by fighters from the American-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebel group.
The video appears to be the first evidence of US special forces cooperating with Turkish troops in their battle against Islamic State (Isil).
The incident illustrates the complex web of alliances and enmities in Syria, where many of America’s allies are fighting each other and some rebel groups that receive US support still harbour strong anti-American sentiments.
The footage shows a crowd of rebel fighters in the town of al-Rai near the Turkish border, which was captured from Isil by Syrian rebel groups with the backing of Turkey. Turkey, which launched a military incursion into Syria in late August, has been backing the FSA.
The fighters scream anti-American chants as a column of pick-up trucks carrying US commandos drives away from them.
“Christians and Americans have no place among us,” shouts one man in the video. “They want to wage a crusader war to occupy Syria.”
Another man calls out: “The collaborators of America are dogs and pigs. They wage a crusader war against Syria and Islam. ”
The US troops are not wearing traditional uniform but they carry American weapons and are wearing the distinctive round helmets favoured by US special forces.
Another video shows the US troops looking nonchalant and waving at the camera even as some of the rebels tell them to leave.
Charles Lister, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, said the confrontation was sparked when FSA rebels accused the Americans of supporting the Kurdish militia known as the People's Protection Units (YPG).
“Heated tempers and YPG relations aside, this was a big mistake by FSA. But it does go to show the diplomacy now required to make it work,” he said.
Turkey is vehemently opposed to the YPG and its FSA proxies have fought with Kurdish fighters even though they are in theory both US allies committed to fighting together against Isil.
It was not clear if the confrontation in al-Rai was spontaneous or ordered by senior FSA figures or even their Turkish allies.
Perhaps terms like "chased out" and "driven out" would be considered an exaggeration. But when a bunch of fanatics are screaming hate at you and waving guns, discretion would appear to be the better part of valor.
You need a daily scorecard to keep track of which groups are on our side, which are opposing us, which groups have allied themselves with the terrorists, and which groups hated us yesterday and love us today.
The current "ceasefire" in Syria – which doesn't mean that hostilities have ceased at all – calls for the U.S. to tell President Assad and the Russians where U.S.-backed rebels are deployed. Russia swears it's so that they don't "accidentally" bomb them. Not surprisingly, the Pentagon wants ironclad proof that Assad and the Russians are serious about going after ISIS and al-Nusra before handing over such sensitive information. The Russians are complaining we're not living up to the ceasefire agreement. If Kerry and Obama are naive fools, at least the Pentagon harbors no illusions about the motives of Putin or Assad.