DAMASCUS – U.S. officials revealed on Friday plans to send special forces to Syria to participate in the fighting against the radical group of Islamic State (ISIS) along with local rebel factions.
The special forces will be deployed with military advisers to help the groups fighting against ISIS jihadists.
Washington pointed out that these American ground troops will work with “moderate rebel” groups to combat ISIS.
According to U.S. senior officials, President Barack Obama had authorised sending some 50 U.S. Special Forces to northern Syria to work with local armed groups against ISIS extremists.
The U.S. key ally in northern Syria are Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), who were able, backed by U.S.-led coalition’s airstrikes, to expel ISIS extremists from large areas along the border with Turkey over the last few months.
Washington fellow NATO member Turkey has repeatedly expressed concerns about the Kurdish advance in northern Syria.
Sending these troops by Washington would be coupled with diplomatic efforts with Syria’s neighboring countries to ensure eliminating ISIS in both Syria and Iraq.
In the meantime, Russia’s warplanes started bombing Assad’s opponents, including the U.S.-backed “moderate rebels”, while it says it has been hitting ISIS extremists.
Several reports from inside Syria confirmed Russia’s involvement in attacks against civilians in rebel-held areas.
This comes as more than a dozen countries held talks over the Syrian conflict in Vienna. Iran –Assad’s main regional ally– has participated in Friday’s talks for the first time since the start of the anti-Assad uprising in 2011.
Tehran indicated to a possible six-month political “transition” period in Syria followed by elections to decide Assad’s fate, but anti-Assad regional powers like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey rejected such option which may push to keep Assad in power.
The Iranian position has been modified after four years of engagement in fighting against anti-Assad rebels, who were able to seize key territories in the war-torn country.
The embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has reportedly pushed allied Iran to seek a compromise with Western powers. Assad, who is also backed by Moscow, will seemingly not leave power by force.
“Iran does not insist on keeping Assad in power forever,” the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian was quoted by Iranian local media as saying.
Meanwhile, the Syrian opposition stressed that the proposal of holding elections may keep Assad in power, which it considers unacceptable.
Speaking to ARA News, Syrian opposition activist Mohammed Idlibi said: “Who could believe that Syrians could vote under such devastating conditions? No fair elections could be held in the current phase. Assad will easily come to power again.”
As peace talks are underway, more than 40 civilians were killed on Friday by Assad’s airstrikes on a popular marketplace in the city of Duma in Damascus suburbs, local sources reported.
Reporting by: Resho Issa
Source: ARA News
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