The US-led Coalition allowed the Syrian militia that opted out from the fight against Islamic State to keep some small arms and light vehicles, Operation Inherent Resolve spokesperson Army Col. Ryan Dillon told Grasswire on Wednesday, August 2.
Last week, Dillon told reporters at a regular press briefing that Liwa Shuhada al-Qaryatayn (ShQ) unilaterally conducted patrols outside an agreed upon de-escalation zone near At Tanf and engaged in other activities not related to fighting ISIS.
The Coalition said last week it would no longer support the militia’s operations, and that it was in talks with ShQ leadership to return the weapons provided for the counter-ISIS fight.
“Our meetings with the ShQ were cordial. The ShQ have returned heavy weapons and other equipment provided by the Coalition, and been allowed to maintain some small arms and light vehicles,” Dillon told Grasswire.
The spokesperson added that the brigade agreed not to conduct offensives against the Syrian regime from inside the 55 kilometer de-confliction zone in the Syrian desert near its base at At Tanf.
A spokesperson for ShQ, Abu Omar al-Homsi, said on August 1 that the militia was refusing to turn over Toyota cars, medium weapons, light weapons and a number of lorry vehicles provided by the Coalition.
#FSA Shuhada al-Qaryatayan spox: leadership will not return arms to the Coalition "and will continue to use them against the Syrian regime"
— كودي روش (@badly_xeroxed) August 1, 2017
Al-Homsi further said that the Coalition threatened to bomb the brigade’s positions in the Syrian desert if they refused to return weapons.
When asked if ShQ positions would be targeted, Dillon said: “Reports of the Coalition bombing the ShQ are not true.”
He noted that the Coalition will continue to train, advise, assist, and accompany other vetted partner forces in southern Syria “that wish to defeat ISIS above other objectives.”