US-backed rebel faction the New Syria Army suffered a major defeat yesterday, raiding the ISIS-held border town of al-Bukamal, taking some neighborhoods for a few hours, only to quickly get surrounded and routed by an ISIS ambush.
There were warnings yesterday that the operation was a “test of power,” and one that the rebels failed miserably. With the rebels struggling to reorganize after retreating in a hurry, there was considerable doubt whether they’d even retain what limited territory they had in the first place.
The rebels are trying to put on a brave face after the defeat, praising their fighters for having “successfully departed” al-Bukamal, even though initially the plan was to capture the town and they “departed” in a tremendous hurry.
Now they’re insisting that it was never the plan to take the city, but just to pick a fight with ISIS. Even if that were true, it’s hard to see what they accomplished by going to an important town and getting decisively defeated by ISIS forces.
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