US downplays setback created by al-Nusra Front
The US Defense Department has downplayed the setback created after Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists overran strategic northern areas in Syria occupied by US-backed militants.
Rebels from the Syrian Revolutionary Front and the Harakat Haz had surrendered to Al-Qaeda’s affiliate al-Nusra Front in Syria with some fighters pledging to join the group.
“There are battles all the time between these various groups, and territory trades hands in these local areas regularly,” Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said during a press briefing in Washington on Monday.
He said such reports are often exaggerated for unknown reason. “Often these battles and trading of territory are talked about in exaggerated terms for various reasons, but right now we haven’t seen any indications of something big or catastrophic.”
The Nusra fighters have made advancements along an area north of Syria which borders Turkey and driven out US-backed fighters from their strongholds.
The US has armed rebels in Syria with heavy weapons, including TOW anti-tank missiles and GRAD rockets.
In the meantime, the US and its allies are fighting the ISIL militants in Iraq and Syria where the fighters have captured large swathes of land.
ISIL Takfiri militants have seized natural gas fields in the central Syrian province of Homs after a week of fighting with the army.
The Takfiri group posted 18 photos on social media on Monday, showing ISIL flag hoisted in Jahar gas field as well as captured vehicles and armaments.
Jahar is the second Syrian gas field captured by the terrorists over the past week after they took over most parts of Sha’ar gas field in Homs on October 30.