The Pentagon has claimed full credit for wiping out the majority of terrorists in Syria.
“The US led coalition, not the Russian Federation or Syrian Regime, is the only force that has made meaningful progress against ISIS” the US department of defense said
It also denies hampering Russia’s anti-ISIS operations after the Russian defense ministry said that US fighter jets were actively interfering with their operations in Syrian airspace.
RT reports: On Wednesday, the Chief of the Russian General Staff declared “there’s no territory controlled by ISIS,” but only “some spots of resistance” left in Syria. A spokesman for the US-led Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) was quick to dismiss the Russian statement Saturday, claiming that IS (Islamic State, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists continue to operate in Deir ez-Zor province.
“Our carefully considered military assessment is that Daesh is still present on both sides of the Euphrates River, and therefore Coalition surgical strikes continue on the East Bank of the Middle Euphrates River Valley in support of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF),” a CJTF-OIR representative told Sputnik.
We know that Russian and Syrian regime aircraft are continuing their strikes on the west bank of the Euphrates River, between the towns of Mayadin and Abu Kamal [Al Bukamal], so it is likely that [Daesh] has yet to be cleared from that area,” the spokesman added. He emphasized that the Pentagon disagrees with the Russian assessment.
The Pentagon also dismissed allegations that the US Air Force is hampering Russian military operations in the country, stating that only the actions of American pilots in Syria have had any meaningful success in defeating the terrorists there.
On Saturday, Russia’s defense ministry accused the US Air Force of interfering in its air operations over Syria. The Russian military cited one such interference, saying, that on November 23, a US F-22 fighter prevented two Russian Su-25 strike aircraft from bombing an IS base to the west of the Euphrates River.
“Most close-midair encounters between Russian and US jets in the area around the Euphrates River have been linked to the attempts of US aircraft to get in the way [of the Russian warplanes] striking against Islamic State terrorists,” Russian military spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov noted.
“Those claims are incorrect,” the Pentagon representative told Sputnik Saturday. “The US-led coalition, not the Russian Federation or Syrian Regime, is the only force that has made meaningful progress against [Daesh/ISIS].”
The spokesman’s statements are in line with the general American leadership perception of Washington’s role in defeating IS in Syria. The trend to diminish Russia’s achievements in Syria started earlier this year, when Ash Carter, the former Secretary of Defense under Barack Obama, accused Moscow of achieving “virtually zero” in Syria.