al-Tanf is no longer a Syrian rebel stronghold.

By Na'omi Allen
Mrs Allen is a disgruntled American veteran and this is her personal blog. She studies geopolitical phenomena, with a focus on countering contemporary Nazism.

MICHIGAN, USA (Notes from Nowhere) — Once known as the last standing moderate rebel group, Maghawir a-Thawra has long abandoned the Syrian Revolution to instead join the Syrian Arab Republic’s fight against Turkish invasion.

Maghawir a-Thawra (MaT), whose ranks consist mainly of early defectors from the Syrian military, recruited to fight alongside the US military against Daesh, no longer exists as a rebel faction, and the al-Tanf region that they control is no longer a rebel stronghold. There have been no reports of hostility between MaT and forces allied with Assad since December of 2016, and their numbers have dwindled significantly.

Their manpower strength was first downsized in 2017 when major joint operations with the US against Daesh ended. Most of them then went to Palmyra, which is held by the Syrian Arab Republic (aka, the Assad Regime).

Others left al-Tanf in December 2020 to join the Assad regime’s fight against Erdogan’s Syrian National Army and the Turkish invasion.

The few (roughly 200) who remain in al-Tanf are there to protect noncombatants who became refugees when Daesh sacked their homes.

Besides repelling small pockets of Daesh, MaT also protects noncombatants against Iranian militias who operate independently of the Syrian government. Russia has also protected al-Tanf from Iranian rogue militias… which should only be confusing to those who believe that all Iran-backed militias are allied with the Syrian Arab Republic (they’re not), or who believe that our US military is at war with Syria and Russia (we’re not).

MaT’s activities previously included joint operations with the US military to protect oil fields leased from the Syrian Democratic Forces by an American company, but the Biden administration has officially abandoned that mission.

“DOD [Department of Defense] personnel or contractors are not authorized to provide assistance to any other private company, including its employees or agents, seeking to develop oil resources in northeastern Syria.”

The US al-Tanf Outpost still exists, but with minimal US troops, and only with a narrow focus to defeat the small remaining pockets of Daesh.