The timing and motivation for last Sunday’s raid on a Syrian border town were already something of a mystery, but they have become even more so in the wake of an interview with a US military intelligence official published in Abu Dhabi newspaper ‘The National.’
In the interview, Major Adam Boyd, the head intelligence officer for the third armored cavalry regiment, describes the cooperation between the Syrian government and US forces in the border area. Though he says they didn’t “deal directly with the Syrians,” he says “they have been relatively good in the near recent past, arresting people on their side of the border.”
This seems to confirm comments by Marine Corps Major General John Kelly, who just days before the US attack said that violence in the province bordering the targeted Syrian town had fallen so low as to be “almost meaningless now.”
In the wake of the attack the US has complained that the Syrian government was not doing a good enough job policing the border, but these comments suggest that commanders on the ground along the Syrian border did not believe the situation was getting worse, and rather saw signs of improvement, leaving open the question: why launch the attack now?