Washington is still ordering Islamists to attack Assad's forces, Moscow's spy chief has claimed
The US is still working with Islamic State terrorists and other Islamist groups to carry out attacks against Bashar Assad's government forces in Syria, Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) chief, Sergey Naryshkin, has claimed.
According to an SVR report released on Monday, the US military's Al-Tanf base in southern Syria is coordinating subversive activities, with the actions of terrorist groups being planned by representatives of the Central Command of the US Armed Forces as well as US intelligence officers.
The SVR stated that a special role has been assigned to the so-called Free Syrian Army, which consists of Kurdish and Arab detachments operating in the central and northeast parts of Syria. "Through them, the Americans and their British allies are working with the underground formations of Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS] that still remain in remote areas of the country," it was alleged.
"ISIS was instructed to incite hostilities in the Syrian south-west (the provinces of Suwayda and Deraa), in the central part of the country (Homs) and east of the Euphrates River (Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor). For this, it is planned to form several detachments of radicals with a total number of about 300 people. After special training, they will be involved in attacks on military facilities in Syria and Iran," the statement added.
The SVR claims that the US also intends to use terrorists in the region around the capital, Damascus, to conduct tasks such as kidnapping Russian and Iranian servicemen.
In addition to coordinating the actions of Islamist groups, Washington is providing terrorists with weapons, according to the SVR. Several dozen four-wheel-drive pickup trucks with heavy machine guns, as well as a number of rocket systems such as NLAW ATGMs, TOWs, and Igla MANPADS are set to be handed over to fighters in the near future, the report alleged.
Washington's actions put it "on the same level" as Islamic terrorists and IS militants, and is a manifestation of state terrorism, the SVR argued.
In February, the SVR reported that the US was using Islamist extremists to plan terrorist attacks in Russia and former Soviet republics. Washington has been training as many as 60 terrorists at the Al-Tanf base to make improvised explosive devices and use them to target diplomats, public officials, law enforcement officers, and military personnel, the intelligence service claimed.