Selected Analysis

British special forces were “regularly” deployed into Syria since 2011

by Ilya Tsukanov, Sputnik Globe

The UK formally joined the US-led coalition against Daesh* in 2014, and took part in the 2018 missile strikes on Syrian government targets after a false flag chemical attack in Douma. But the extent of British ops in the war-torn country has largely remained under wraps, especially in relation to the use of Britain’s special forces.
Troops with the British special forces began training so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels in 2011, conducting cross border raids into the country in 2012, and engaging in the killings of British nationals inside the war-torn country soon after the start of the US-led coalition’s campaign against Daesh, the London-based non-profit Action on Armed Violence has revealed.
A comprehensive analysis by the group of credible reports on covert British military operations in over a dozen countries over the past dozen years found that special forces units were “regularly” deployed into Syria despite explicit prohibitions on doing so in a 2013 parliament ruling.
These operations included the provision of military equipment, training and intelligence assistance to Syrian rebel commanders in Lebanon and Turkiye at the start of the conflict, and Special Air Service (SAS) and Special Boat Service (SBS) raids into the country via Jordan starting in the summer of 2012.
The non-profit’s analysis confirmed that before the 2013 parliamentary vote, special forces troops and MI6 agents had been deployed to the region in order to mark Syrian air defenses that might be used to target British jets.
Special forces units were also heavily involved in operations in Syria’s north starting shortly after the start of the US-led coalition’s air war, with British troops occasionally wearing American military uniforms and using US weapons to evade parliamentary restrictions on boots on the ground. In other instances, special forces troops would dress as Daesh fighters or their wives, purportedly helping them conduct raids in Syria’s east.
The analysis also confirmed the deployment of SAS commandos in Syria and Iraq to assassinate British nationals accused of fighting for Daesh, and as snipers and reconnaissance units to call in air, drone and mortar strikes, including by American forces.
British cross-border raids reportedly included the provision of assistance to US forces occupying al-Tanf, southern Syria, including to help train the so-called “New Syrian Army,” a militant group which Damascus and its allies classify as Daesh remnants and other jihadists militants trained for operations against the Syrian government by the West.
SAS forces suffered a fatality in March 2018 after a trooper was killed together with a US commando in a friendly fire incident involving American forces, with the incident initially blamed on a roadside bomb. Two more SAS troops were injured after being hit by a missile in January 2019.
The compilation of secret British special forces activities in Syria surfaced in the wake of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s decisive diplomatic victory in the decadelong dirty war against him, demonstrated by Syria’s triumphant return to the Arab League earlier this month.

About a third of Syria remains occupied, including by the United States, which controls oil and food producing regions east of the Euphrates River, and by Turkiye, which has stood up border buffer zones and provided support for the mostly jihadi rebel-occupied northwestern Syrian region of Idlib.

Syrian officials have slammed the US and its allies over the dirty war, and demanded that all foreign forces not explicitly invited by the Damascus government leave the country, and allow Syria to restore full control over its internationally recognized borders.

* Daesh, also known as IS, ISIS or ISIL, is a terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.
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