Russian Defence Ministry on Saturday accused the United States of training militants near its base in Syria and instructed them to launch terrorist attacks. According to the ministry’s statement, the information was obtained after the Syrian government troops killed two militants and caught another two near the historic city of Palmyra earlier in the day.
The captured said they belong to “the Lions of the East Army” numbering about 500 people near the US-led international coalition’s al-Tanf military base. One of the captives said they were trained by US instructors and received weapons and ammunition from the US base.
The task of the militants was to conduct a series of terrorist attacks in the area of Palmyra and enable the passage of about 300 militants to capture the city within the next week, said the ministry. Tens of thousands of displaced people from Raqqa and Deir al-Zour are living in the Rukban refugee camp near the US base, but the US troops do nothing to prevent them from being hostages or a “living shield” of militants, the ministry said.
UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said in early August that an estimated 45,000 to 50,000 internally displaced people, with some 80 percent believed to be women and children, live under difficult conditions in Rukban camp between Jordan and Syria, reportedly in need of water, hygiene, health, education aid and civil documentation.