Russian General Valery Gerasimov said on Wednesday that former ISIS fighters in Syria have been trained by the U.S. with the objective to additionally destabilize the country.
According to Reuters, General Valery Gerasimov told the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper that the U.S. has trained former militants for the terror organization at its military base in Tanf, which is strategically located in southern Syria, near its border crossing with Iraq.
“They are in reality being trained there. They are practically Islamic State,” Gerasimov said, pointing out that the base was an illegal “black hole” where militants can operate unhampered.
“But after they are worked with, they change their spots and take on another name. Their task is to destabilize the situation,” he added.
The Russian General noted that the former fighters now call themselves New Syrian Army. He further noted that Russia satellites and drones had spotted militant brigades at the U.S. base.
On this, the U.S. replied that the base located in Tanf was a temporary facility that is being used for the sole purpose of training partners to help in the fight with ISIS. Previous allegations like this have been made by the Russians, but the U.S. has denied them all.
The General statement is a result of elevated tensions between the U.S. and Russia in Syria. Although the two countries share the common goal of defeating the Islamic State, they are both backing up opposite sides in the Syrian Civil War.
Russia supports the president of Syria Bashar Asaad while the U.S. backs the rebel fighters who are trying to overthrow Asaad.