Alwaght- The Russian military questioned the official US account of the military raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, saying it has no reliable information on the raid.
In a statement, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said the Russian military “does not have reliable information” on a US Special Operations raid in Syria’s Idlib province, adding: “The increasing number of direct participants and countries that allegedly took part in this ‘operation,’ each one giving completely contradictory details, raises legitimate questions and doubts about its existence and especially the level of its success.”
He also added that the ministry was not aware of any assistance that Russia had allegedly given the US forces in the operation, thus challenging Trump's remarks about the US military having coordinated the operation with Russia.
During his announcement of Baghdad's death, Trump thanked Russia, Turkey, Iraq and Syria as well as Syrian Kurds for helping with the operation, claiming that Moscow “did not know the nature” of the mission, but was informed ahead that it was going to happen.
“We are unaware of any alleged assistance to the flying of US aviation into the airspace of the Idlib de-escalation zone during this operation,” the Russian Defense Ministry official said.
Russia maintains a major base in Syria at Latakia. Konashenkov said, however, that the Russian military had observed no strikes by US aircraft in the region.
“Firstly, on Saturday and in recent days no air strikes were made on the Idlib de-escalation zone by US aircraft or the so-called ‘international coalition’ were recorded,” Konashenkov said. “Secondly, we are not aware of any alleged assistance to the passage of American aviation into the airspace of the Idlib de-escalation zone during this operation.”
Konashenkov argued in his statement that Syrian government backed by its allies had defeated ISIS, saying that al-Baghdadi’s death “has absolutely no operational significance on the situation in Syria or on the actions of the remaining terrorists in Idlib.”
The Idlib operation was conducted only a few weeks after Trump announced that the US would be withdrawing its forces from northeastern Syria, clearing the path for an expected Turkish incursion into the region.
Turkey launched the offensive on October 9 with the aim of purging the northeastern Syrian regions near its border of US-backed Kurdish militants, whom it views as terrorists linked to local autonomy-seeking militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Trump, later however, rowed back on the withdrawal decision, announcing that a contingent of US Special Forces would remain in Syria to control its oil fields.