The U.S.-led coalition will defer to Russia in retaking Palmyra after Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) regained control of the ancient Syrian city on Dec. 11.
“If they don’t, we will do what we need to do to defend ourselves and we’ll de-conflict those actions with the Russians,” Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, who commands the American-led coalition, said on Dec. 14 according to AFP.
ISIL took full control of Palmyra on Dec. 11 after temporarily being stopped by Russian forces.
Townsend also said that ISIL jihadists seized a trove of gear, possibly including anti-aircraft weapons, when they recaptured Palmyra.
“We believe that includes some armored vehicles and various guns and other heavy weapons, possibly some air-defense equipment,” Townsend said in a video briefing from Baghdad.
“Basically, anything they (ISIL) seize poses a threat to the coalition, but we can manage those threats and we will. I anticipate that we’ll have opportunities to strike that equipment and kill the ISIL that’s operating it soon.”
The Pentagon and coalition partners have accused Russia and Syria of neglecting ISIL’s threat to Palmyra to focus on bombing the former rebel bastion of Aleppo.
Full article: U.S. forces bow to Russian response after ISIL seizes anti-aircraft weapons in Palmyra (World Tribune)