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Syrian army ‘will ignore’ US air force border fight threat

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Morning Star 

SYRIA’S armed forces made clear yesterday that they will not obey US air force instructions to halt military operations near the Tanf border crossing with Iraq.

An army officer told Al-Masdar News that, despite the US air force dropping leaflets over Syrian army positions in south-east Homs at the weekend, army units will continue fighting against Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Isis militants until the entire Iraqi border with south-east Syria is sealed.

“Any movements toward Tanf will be considered hostile and we will defend our forces,” the US-led coalition leaflet read.

The officer added that the Russian military is deeply embedded with the Syrian army and their allies in southeast Homs and is backing continued operations.

Government forces greatly outnumber the Western-backed FSA in the region and the US allies also do not have the backing of the Iraqi government or the Shi’ite Popular Mobilisation Units that operate both in Iraqi desert areas west of Mosul and alongside Syrian government forces in south-east Homs.

US warplanes hit pro-Syrian government Palestinian fighters on May 18 on the pretext that they posed a threat to US troops and allied rebels near the border with Jordan.

Syrian army and allied paramilitary forces continued their successful campaign in the eastern Aleppo countryside yesterday afternoon, breaking through Isis defences and capturing the Ras al-Ayn village and its surroundings, heightening the pressure on the Isis stronghold of Maskanah.

The last batch of jihadist insurgents and their family members were transported in government-provided buses from the Barzeh suburb of east Damascus to Idlib province yesterday.

Their departure means that the Syrian government has full control of this suburb for the first time since late 2011.

Several rebels opted to remain in Barzeh and will have six months to resolve their status with the government.

Four members of the pro-Syrian government Harakat al-Nujaba militia, together with two Syrian army soldiers, were freed from year-long captivity in jihadi-controlled province Idlib on Sunday night after Nujaba fighters launched a behind-the-enemy-lines raid.

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