The Assad-ISIS Collaboration:
In 2015 according to media reports “Assad regime forces abandoned the city of Palmyra and allowed ISIS to take it over unopposed.
In 2014 the Assad regime refrained from attacking ISIS bases. A Syrian government adviser told the New York Times “this was indeed a deliberate policy designed to “tar” the broader opposition and “frame [the] choice” as either Assad or the extremists.
In a further twist in February last year the US Embassy in Syria accused the regime of supporting the ISIS advance on Syria’s largest city, Aleppo and tweeted – “Reports indicate that the regime is making air-strikes in support of ISIL’s advance on Aleppo, aiding extremists against Syrian population,”
In March 2015 The FT reported “A Syrian businessman responsible for orchestrating millions of dollars’ worth of secret oil and gas trades between the Assad government and its supposed sworn enemy, ISIS is among 13 individuals and organizations hit with sweeping new economic sanctions by the EU.
Now some Arab media are calling the liberation of Palmyra a choreographed theatrical play aimed at Western audiences with the simple message – the regime is standing up to ISIS. The gullible London mayor Boris Johnson is one of those who has fallen victim to Assad’s flagrant deception. In an article in the Daily Telegraph he praised both Assad and Putin.
Colonel Ahmad Hamadi of the FSA, explained that “in May 2015 the Syrian army withdrew from Palmyra without a fight opening the way for ISIS to occupy the ancient city. Assad wanted to show the world that ISIS poses a great threat and only his regime can defeat it.
Brigadier-General Asaad Awad Al Zoubi said that ISIS withdrew from Palmyra to provide Assad with the leverage needed to exert pressure during the political negotiations in Geneva.
A pro regime website (Syrian Perspective) quoted General Ali Abdullah Ayyoob, Chief of the Syrian General Staff as saying last Sunday: “the rats (ISIS men) inside were finally given the go-ahead to withdraw to Al-Sukhna, Al-Raqqa and Deir Ezzor. This morning at 5:00 a.m., the SAA had confirmation from sources inside the city that the piece-meal escape was taking place. The Syrian high command ordered troops to stand down until the last rodent had left”.
It would appear that similar scenarios are being drawn up to be repeated in Deir Ezzor, Raqqa and Sukhna, with the full knowledge and co-operation of ISIS.