U.S. strikes in Syria ease ISIS pressure on moderate rebels

McClatchy reports: Assisted by intelligence from moderate rebel fighters on the ground, the U.S. carried out remarkably accurate airstrikes against Islamic State targets north of Aleppo over the weekend that destroyed bases hidden in farm buildings and killed dozens of militants, rebel officials and local activists said Tuesday.

But because the airstrikes were not coordinated with the U.S.-backed rebels and caught them by surprise, the rebels were unable to advance on the ground, the officials and activists said.

“The rebels didn’t advance,” said one rebel official. “Each party remains where it is.”

“Had there been coordination, there could have been an advance,” a second rebel official told McClatchy. He added: “We’re still wondering what is U.S. strategy against the Islamic State in Syria. They seem in no rush to solve the problem.”

These and other rebel officials insisted on anonymity so as not to jeopardize their relationship with the U.S. government.

There was no question, however, that the airstrikes – the U.S. Central Command said three airstrikes were carried out against 10 targets – also benefited rebel forces. [Continue reading…]

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