Driving Daesh out of Raqqa has long been viewed as the key step needed to destroy the brutal group and its terror caliphate, yet the US has not been eager to accept Russia’s offer to help with the upcoming offensive. Washington’s stance raises questions as to what its true goals in Syria are, Analysts Michael Hughes and Patrick Henningsen asserted.
“I think [the Americans] made a commitment to not coordinate with the Russians militarily because it is politically not feasible for them,” Michael Hughes told RT. “The US certainly isn’t eager to cooperate. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov put that offer out there and it just seems logical for them to run with that if [Daesh] was truly their priority. And that’s the question.”
Patrick Henningsen shared this sentiment, saying that the US could indeed have an ulterior motive in Syria and this is why it does not want Russia or Damascus to assist with the operation.
“The US seems to be very intent on controlling the outcome of what happens in Raqqa in building the ‘Arab militia forces’ or ‘friendly Arab forces’ on the ground, but all the while completely ignoring the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the government forces,” he said.
True, the Kurds both in Syria and Iraq have proved to be a formidable ground force capable of tackling Daesh, but so has the SAA, particularly after Damascus-led forces received Russian arms and training. It’s only logical that they take part in an offensive.
“The Kurds are a big part of this and obviously the US strikes supporting them help. But Russian help, Syrian help could definitely and easily make this a quick battle,” Hughes emphasized.
Indeed, the offensive to free Raqqa, the capital of the caliphate, will not be a walk in the park. If recent history is any indication, the large-scale complex operation will most likely last for weeks and meet fierce resistance from Daesh.
Recent developments suggest that the group is not intent on going down without a fight.
The militants planted “a huge number” of explosives and landmines on the outskirts of the city over the weekend, the Fars news agency reported, citing unnamed sources. They have also built additional hideouts and dug tunnels in those areas where Daesh commanders and their families are headquartered.
The terrorist group “has left the civilian-populated neighborhoods without shelter and has concentrated on building more shelters in military areas in the city,” the sources added.
In addition, the militants executed four people, who allegedly admitted that they were communicating with anti-Daesh forces.
In this context, one cannot but ask why Washington does not want Russia to help, considering how efficient and well-coordinated Moscow’s anti-Daesh operation has been.
The US, according to Henningsen, does not want Syria to remain a unified state. “The US position has always been to try to create a situation where they would partition Syria at the end of this,” the analyst asserted.