The leader of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah accused the United States of delaying efforts by the Syrian military and its allies from defeating the Islamic State. In an address to Hezbollah followers from an undisclosed location, Hezbollah’s leader said the United States was paradoxically combating the Islamic State on one front while serving it on another. Nasrallah said, “Who is delaying the defeat of the Islamic State? Those delaying their defeat are the Americans, not the Islamic State themselves. Some may say that in Iraq the Americans are helping (the defeat of IS). Even in Syria they are contributing (to the defeat of IS). In Raqqa for example, the Americans are helping (to defeat IS) but on the sole basis that those who will control the region afterwards are forces allied with the Americans.” The Hezbollah leader noted further that “The American air force in some areas prevents the Syrian army and its allies from advancing in areas controlled by Islamic State. Your forces are not fighting them and we are prevented from advancing and fighting them,” the Iranian backed militia leader stressed. The allegations levelled at the United States came after American fighter-jets targeted pro-government militias in eastern Syria that were advancing toward areas under the control of US-backed local forces.
While the Syrian-military is backed by Russian air support, Moscow has refrained from confronting the US military that is backing opposing forces, primarily the SDF alliance.
Meanwhile, the rhetoric voiced by Nasrallah comes after a senior US official said that President Donald Trump was considering putting sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran for its support of Hezbollah, and as the US congress prepares to consider tighter sanctions on Hezbollah itself. Security sources in Lebanon have said that Hezbollah has lost hundreds of fighters in Syria since it entered the conflict in support of President Bashar Assad in 2013 against a rebel uprising.