UK Special Forces have been spotted in Syria fighting alongside anti-government militants, marking the first evidence of the troops’ direct involvement in the years-long conflict.
The British troops have been frequently crossing into Syria to support the so-called New Syrian Army (NSA), purportedly protecting them from attacks by the Daesh Takfiri terrorists, the Times reported Monday.
“They helped us with logistics, like building defenses to make the bunkers safe,” First Lieutenant Mahmoud al-Saleh said of the British forces.
The NSA is mainly operating in the southeastern village of al-Tanf, after snatching it from Daesh in May.
“They [Daesh] attack us at all times, 3am, 5am, 4pm, and 11pm. If you look at the timing of the assaults it’s clear they don’t want us to get any rest. They’re using missiles, mortars and many suicide bombers,” Saleh continued.
British and American forces, who have been training anti-Syria militants in Jordan, had to retrain the NSA members before sending them back into the Arab country.
The British daily also noted in its report UK troops that helped the group rebuild its base in the town after it was hit by a suicide attack last month.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy it blames on some regional and Western governments.
According to a February report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict in Syria has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people in total since March 2011.
The UK Department for International Development (DFID), a British government institution responsible for administering foreign spending, has revealed that about £5.1 million of British aid for Syria may have ended up in the hands of Daesh.
British authorities also say that at least 800 UK nationals have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside the Takfiri terror groups operating there.