US designs in Syria were made crystal clear by US Army General Joseph Votel – head of US Central Command (CENTCOM) – during a July 19th press briefing.
General Votel would state unequivocally when asked what the “arrangement” was regarding Syria, that:
Our mission is very, very clear: It is focusing on the defeat of ISIS and then helping our partners in both Iraq and Syria stabilize the situation and specifically in Iraq to help create a platform that can lead to a long-term political solution through the U.N. process.
Several aspects of this statement make it clear what the US was doing in Syria to begin with, and what it seeks to do now.
The US Created & Protects ISIS – Not Fights It
General Votel echoes repeated claims by US policymakers and leadership that the US is dedicated to fighting and defeating the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS). Yet ISIS was admittedly created by the US and its partners in the region in the first place. It was a 2012 leaked Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) memo that revealed:
If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).
The DIA memo would also explicitly explain who these “supporting powers” are:
The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.
ISIS would take shape precisely in eastern Syria where the DIA memo had said its “Salafist” (Islamic) “principality” (State) would. It would attempt to place pressure on Damascus and isolate it – particularly from Iranian logistical efforts traversing Iraq and entering Syria along the Euphrates River before moving deeper into Syrian territory itself.
While the US had invaded and occupied Syria openly since 2014, it wasn’t until the Russian Federation’s military intervention in 2015 that ISIS supply lines streaming out of NATO-member Turkey were targeted and destroyed.