The Russian Ministry of Defense has released aerial images which they say show US Army special forces equipment north of the town of Deir er-Zor, where ISIS militants are deployed.
US Army special units provide free passage for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) through the battle formations of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists, the ministry said in a statement.
“Facing no resistance of the ISIS militants, the SDF units are advancing along the left shore of the Euphrates towards Deir ez-Zor,” the statement reads.
The newly released images “clearly show that US special ops are stationed at the outposts previously set up by ISIS militants.”
“Despite that the US strongholds being located in the ISIS areas, no screening patrol has been organized at them,” the Russian Ministry of Defense said.
This could mean that the US military staff “feel absolutely safe” in the area which is held by the terrorists, the ministry of defense stated.
Though, the ministry claims to have identified, among others, cars, armored vehicles and tents, it does not provide information on the exact whereabouts of the US troops on the images posted.
All of the images were taken from September 8 to 12. The photos show several Cougar infantry mobility vehicles and Hummer armored vehicles of the US Army special forces, according to the Russian MoD data.
The images released by the Russian Defense Ministry encourage speculation that the US and SDF forces have some sort of “understanding” with IS terrorists operating in the region, according to Ammar Waqqaf, the director of the Gnosos think tank.
“From the footage, the Americans seem to be and the SDF seem to be quite at leisure, they are not expecting any attack any time soon,” Waqqaf told RT. “The reason why this may be the case is that there has been some sort of understandings with ISIS over there. Probably they were given some amnesty, that they are not going to be prosecuted, … or they were given guarantees that they would not be given back to the state.”
Earlier in September, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov accused the SDF of collusion with ISIS terrorists.
“SDF militants work to the same objectives as IS terrorists. Russian drones and intelligence have not recorded any confrontations between IS and the ‘third force,’ the SDF,” Konashenkov said.