Agence France Presse
DAMASCUS: The Syrian Al-Watan newspaper, which is close to the government, on Monday dismissed a new assault on ISIS’s Syrian stronghold of Raqqa as a “media” operation.
The daily said the fight, led by the Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) was intended to “focus American public opinion on the ‘war on terror’ and show the seriousness of the current administration in the fight against the terrorist group Daesh (ISIS).”
Citing what it described as a “Western diplomatic source in Paris,” the newspaper said the SDF lacked the capacity to fight ISIS “even if they were backed by Washington and Paris with all their power.”
The daily said the operation’s “sudden announcement” was intended to “cover up the inability of the U.S. to make quick and qualitative progress in cooperation with the Iraqi army in Mosul,” citing the same source.
It also said the operation was timed to coincide with the U.S. presidential elections, which take place Tuesday, especially “with the scandals surrounding the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.”
The SDF is a key ally of the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria, where it does not coordinate its strikes with the government in Damascus.
President Bashar Assad’s government accuses the U.S.-led coalition of failing to tackle ISIS in Syria, and alleges that Washington and other supporters of rebel groups fuel “terrorism” in the country.