Iraqi security forces advance in Qayara, south of Mosul, to attack Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq. REUTERS/Stringer
Reuters: Damascus, allies see risks in Mosul campaign
The Syrian army and its allies see a risk that Islamic State will regroup in eastern Syria as it is forced from the Iraqi city of Mosul in a U.S.-backed operation, posing new risks for President Bashar al-Assad.
Both the Syrian army and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah have warned of what they have called a U.S. plan to open a path of retreat for Islamic State from Iraq into Syria. A Pentagon spokesman called the claim "ludicrous".
The Iraqi government launched the campaign to drive the jihadist group from its last stronghold in Iraq this week. Iraqi government and Kurdish forces on Tuesday announced progress in the first 24 hours of the offensive, backed by air and ground support from the U.S.-led coalition.
A senior official in the alliance fighting in support of Assad told Reuters the arrival of large numbers of extra IS fighters in Syria from Iraq would present new dangers to Syrian government-held pockets of territory in Deir al-Zor, to the ancient city of Palmyra, and to other areas further west.
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Update: Syrian army accuses US and allies of creating safe route for ISIS to Syria (RUDAW)
WNU Editor: The concerns from the Syrian government are valid .... if the Islamic State is driven out of Iraq, they will flee to Syria to continue the fight from there.