2 Nov 2017 09:47

Maj. Gen. Jarrard's eastern Syria remarks show lack of knowledge on situation on the ground - Konashenkov

MOSCOW. Nov 2 (Interfax) - The Russian Defense Ministry has offered its comments on recent "strange" remarks made by Army Maj. Gen. James Jarrard, commander of Special Operations Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, concerning the situation in eastern Syria.

"Most representatives of the U.S.-led international coalition tend to mistake the wish for the reality in Syria absolutely without any knowledge of the actual situation on the ground. However, the commander of the special operations forces of the international coalition, Gen. Jarrard the other day outdid all of his fellow servicemen in his fantasies regarding the events in eastern Syria," Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.

"In any case, it was quite strange to hear from the commander of the coalition's special operations forces this geographical nonsense about "thousands of Arabs" allegedly fleeing toward Mayadin (in the south) from Deir ez-Zor, which was liberated from ISIL, stressing at the same time that people are heading "not to the south populated by Arabs but to the north". I would like to recall especially for the command of the international coalition's special operations forces that the town of Mayadin, located 40 kilometers south of Deir ez-Zor, was liberated from ISIL militants more than two weeks ago," Konashenkov said.

Therefore, thousands of Syrians are not "fleeing" to it from Deir ez-Zor but are returning to their homes with humanitarian aid delivered by the Russian center for reconciliation of the opposing sides in Syria and international humanitarian organizations, Konashenkov said.

"There are no Syrians at all wishing to flee to the "north", toward liberated al-Raqqah, from Deir ez-Zor because there is no al-Raqqah itself after the U.S.-led international coalition's bombardments," he said.

Maj. Gen. James Jarrard, commander of the international coalition's special operations forces, said at a press briefing earlier that hundreds and thousands of Arabs were leaving districts midstream the Euphrates River, heading to Mayadin from Deir ez-Zor. According to the general, these people are fleeing not from ISIL but from the "regime" which is liberating these cities. According to him, people are heading not to the south populated by Arabs but to the north, to territories controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces.

Islamic State (ISIL) is a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia.