Leaked documents: Assad, Daesh colluded on Palmyra battle

Published May 3rd, 2016 - 11:30 GMT
This file photo taken on April 7, 2016 shows Russian army sappers check for mines in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. (AFP/Max Delaney)
This file photo taken on April 7, 2016 shows Russian army sappers check for mines in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. (AFP/Max Delaney)

Leaked documents obtained by Sky News revealed Monday that Daesh militants struck a deal with the Assad government to withdraw its fighters from the ancient city of Palmyra. The ancient city, which was held by Daesh for nearly a year, was recaptured by the Syrian government in March.

The documents, leaked to Sky News by Daesh defectors, revealed arrangements with Syrian forces for Daesh fighters to evacuate certain areas of Palmyra before the Syrian army launched its attack. The documents also allege that a deal took place to trade oil for fertilizer.

"Withdraw all heavy artillery and anti-aircraft machine guns from in and around Palmyra to Raqqa province," one of the documents reportedly read.

Afzal Ashraf, a consulting fellow from British think tank Royal United Services Institute, told Sky News, "It may take 20 years before what we know exactly what is going on."

"Almost certainly there will be some sort of communication going on between mortal enemies, and that is for short-term tactical gains and losses," Ashraf went on. "Certainly if there is economic trading going on, which we know there is, there would be communication."

The leaked documents also allege that Daesh's program of recruiting and training fighters to carry out attacks abroad began long before security services in Western countries had expected.


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