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US feels humiliation after abandoned Syria camps claimed by Russians



  • Russian troops and Syrian forces swiftly took over at least three recently abandoned US camps in northern Syria this week.
  • Russian mercenaries splashed their good fortune over social media and took selfies in front of US equipment, while Russian reporters gave walking tours of the base. 
  • US troops vacated following Donald Trump’s October 6 decision to pull all US troops from a coalition with the Syrian Defense Forces.
  • “Humiliation doesn’t begin to cover what the US forces are feeling right now,” a military official with the anti-ISIS coalition said
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Russian troops and their Syrian allies Wednesday quickly moved to assert their new power in Syria after this week’s humiliating retreat by US forces in the wake of an invasion by Turkey.

For US and coalition soldiers, the spectacle was made worse by Russian glee at taking over multiple US military bases which were hastily abandoned.

Here is a video from the pro-Kremlin ANNA news network, which appears to show the inside of a base in Manbij, with abandoned tents, drinks coolers, and books. A Russian flag has been drawn on a white board.

The roughly 1,000 US soldiers — along with hundreds of French, Danish and British allies — have been forced to abandon positions along Syria’s shared border with Turkey. 

Read more: Video shows the inside of an abandoned US camp in Syria taken over by Russian mercenaries

At the same time, Turkish troops and their proxies are pressing into Syria in a controversial campaign to eliminate Kurdish separatists that had allied with the US against ISIS.

Abandoned US army base

Inside a room at the Manbij base, as shown by ANNA’s video.
Anna News/Youtube

The Kurdish response was to invite Russia and the Syrian regime into the eastern third of the country which they had governed autonomously for nearly eight years.

“Humiliation doesn’t begin to cover what the US forces are feeling right now,” said a military official with the anti-ISIS coalition.

“First they were forced to tell the people they trained, equipped and fought alongside for five years that they were leaving them to their fate, only to see Russian and Syrian troops enter the area and take over their bases.”

On Tuesday, at least three US-built outposts in the areas around Manbij, Kobani, and Ayn Issa were abandoned and almost immediately taken over.

US abandoned base

A bottle of Welch’s sparkling white grape juice and a Nintendo Gameboy inside the base.
Anna News/Youtube

They were occupied by Russian special forces and mercenaries who have been deployed in Syria for five years to protect the tattered regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

The response from Russian state media was immediate as Russian troops and journalists took selfies amid the abandoned US equipment and gave video tours of the now Russian controlled facilities.

This video is from the state-controlled RT news channel:

“It appears the Americans fled in their armored vehicles,” said the RT Arabic service correspondent as she filmed an outdoor gym and motor pool area.

The reporter described the base as equipped with everything except weapons, ammunition and armored vehicles, which she dryly noted the US took with them while leaving virtually everything else behind.

Turkish tanks and troops stationed near Syrian town of Manbij, Syria, Tuesday. Oct. 15, 2019. Russia moved to fill the void left by the United States in northern Syria on Tuesday, deploying troops to keep apart advancing Syrian government and Turkish forces.(Ugur Can/DHA via AP)

Turkish tanks and troops stationed near Syrian town of Manbij, Syria, Tuesday. Oct. 15, 2019.
Associated Press

A NATO military official from the anti-ISIS coalition said that the footage was an instant and powerful win for Russian propaganda.

He said: “This footage will play on endless repeat, not just around Russian state media. The notion that ‘Americans fled Syria leaving behind perfect military bases for the Russians’ will also receive massive play around the Middle East as [Russian President Vladimir] Putin makes the case that he’s now the real superpower in the region.”

A Kurdish fighter with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an umbrella group formed with US support and training to fight ISIS, said that in the brief conversations he had with the departing US soldiers, he felt they were deeply upset by the situation.

Mazen, an SDF fighter from Kobani, told Insider: “Some had tears in their eyes, we don’t blame these soldiers. They were our brothers who fought with us for five years against [ISIS]. We blame the dictator Trump and his gang [Turkish President Recep] Erdogan and Putin.”

He asked for only his first name for be used out of concern for his safety.

He said that while the Kurdish military leadership remains wary of both the Syrian regime and its Russian allies, they had no choice.

“We did not want to kill the revolution in Rojava and return to the regime and its Russian mercenaries,” he said.

“But we could not face the Turkish airplanes, tanks, and their rapist, murdering criminal army alone. Bashar is a dog but the Turks are wolves.”

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