Syrian military sources claimed Saturday to have massed huge reinforcements in the vast desert region between Homs in central Syria and US-held Al-Tanf on Syria’s eastern border with Iraq and Jordan. The sources said the Syrian army is establishing an 80-km buffer zone around the oasis city of Al-Qarayatyn and making it the headquarters for an operation for “tracking and foiling” the movements of US-backed SDF militias.
DEBKAfile’s military sources doubt whether Syria has a huge army at its disposal for expelling US marines from Al-Tanf because it is pinned down in the fighting for rebel-held East Ghouta outside Damascus. The Syrians see their chance to dislodge US positions in the east in the light of the flight of Kurdish YPG militiamen, who have left their posts with the US marines to help their countrymen ward off the Turkish invasion of Afrin. The US has cautioned Russia, Syria and Iran that they will have a fight on their hands if they try to attack American positions in eastern Syria.