When much of the alternative media reported on the US's covert support of ISIS in Syria, the mainstream media refuted such claims and continued to chant its "Assad must go" mantra, along with propaganda that US forces were actually in Syria to fight ISIS and not overthrow Assad, a claim that is being proven untrue with each passing day.
Now with ISIS all but defeated thanks to Russia, Iran and the Syrian army, the BBC has decided to come clean and report that ISIS terrorists were given free passage by coalition forces to leave Raqqa.
The BBC reports comes on the same day as US General Mattis' declaration of an open ended military commitment to supposedly fight ISIS in Syria. Zerohedge reports that as General Mattis commits US troops to Syria indefinitely, the BBC confirmed that the US and its Kurdish SDF proxy (Syrian Democratic Forces) cut a deal with ISIS which allowed for the evacuation of possibly thousands of ISIS members and their families from Raqqa.
The Duran reports that Mattis' declaration to keep US boots on the ground in dozens of undisclosed military bases in Syria, has infuriated Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who slammed the US for its presence in Syria being not only illegal, but deeply counterproductive.
Lavrov also highlighted a statement from the Russian Defence Ministry which unequivocally accuses (with accompanying photographic evidence) the US of failing to target ISIS fighters in Syria while allowing them safe passage away from oncoming Syrian Arab Army liberators.
Syria has repeatedly stated, including at the United Nations, that US troops and airmen in Syria are not actually fighting ISIS but are merely playing an obstructionist role to the inevitable Syrian victory, one which includes the arming and financing of terrorist groups.
At a moment of widespread acknowledgement that the short-lived Islamic State is no longer a reality, and as ISIS is about to be defeated by the Syrian Army in its last urban holdout of Abu Kamal City in eastern Syria, the US is signalling an open-ended military presence in Syria. On Monday Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon that the US is preparing for a long term military commitment in Syria to fight ISIS "as long as they want to fight."
Mattis indicated that even should ISIS loose all of its territory there would still be a dangerous insurgency that could morph into an "ISIS 2.0" which he said the US would seek to prevent. "The enemy hasn't declared that they're done with the area yet, so we'll keep fighting as long as they want to fight," Mattis said. "We're not just going to walk away right now before the Geneva process has traction."
Mattis was referring to the stalled peace talks in Geneva which some analysts have described as a complete failure (especially as the Geneva process unrealistically stipulates the departure of Assad), as the future of Syria has of late been increasingly decided militarily on the battlefield, with the Syrian government now controlling the vast majority of the country's most populated centers.
Ironically just as some degree of stability and normalcy has returned to many parts of the county now under government control, Mattis coupled the idea of a permanent US military presence with the goal of allowing Syrians to return to their homes. He said, "You keep broadening them. Try to (demilitarize) one area then (demilitarize) another and just keep it going, try to do the things that will allow people to return to their homes."
Meanwhile Turkey once again reiterated that the US has 13 bases in Syria, though the US-backed Syrian YPG has previously indicated seven US military bases in northern Syria. The Pentagon, however, would not confirm base locations or numbers - though only a year-and-a-half ago the American public was being assured that there would be "no boots on the ground" due to mission creep in Syria.
Remember when Obama State Department spokesman John Kirby was called out multiple times by reporters for his blatant lies concerning "boots on the ground" in Syria.
"We are not going to be involved in a large scale combat mission on the ground in Syria. That is what the president [Obama] has long said."
The BBC has uncovered details of a secret deal that let hundreds of IS fighters and their families escape from Raqqa, under the gaze of the US and British-led coalition and Kurdish-led forces who control the city.
A convoy included some of IS's most notorious members and - despite reassurances - dozens of foreign fighters. Some of those have spread out across Syria, even making it as far as Turkey.
According to the BBC report, foreign fighters who had long vowed to carry out attacks in Europe were part of the deal brokered under the US coalition in Syria...
Disillusioned, weary of the constant fighting and fearing for his life, Abu Basir decided to leave for the safety of Idlib. He now lives in the city. He was part of an almost exclusively French group within IS, and before he left some of his fellow fighters were given a new mission.
"There are some French brothers from our group who left for France to carry out attacks in what would be called a ‘day of reckoning.'"
Much is hidden beneath the rubble of Raqqa and the lies around this deal might easily have stayed buried there too.
The numbers leaving were much higher than local tribal elders admitted. At first the coalition refused to admit the extent of the deal.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, somewhat improbably, continue to maintain that no deal was done.
And this may not even have been about freeing civilian hostages. As far as the coalition is concerned, there was no transfer of hostages from IS to coalition or SDF hands.
And despite coalition denials, dozens of foreign fighters, according to eyewitnesses, joined the exodus.
The deal to free IS was about maintaining good relations between the Kurds leading the fight and the Arab communities who surround them.
It was also about minimising casualties. IS was well dug in at the city's hospital and stadium. Any effort to dislodge it head-on would have been bloody and prolonged.
The war against IS has a twin purpose: first to destroy the so-called caliphate by retaking territory and second, to prevent terror attacks in the world beyond Syria and Iraq.
Raqqa was effectively IS's capital but it was also a cage - fighters were trapped there.
The deal to save Raqqa may have been worth it.
But it has also meant battle-hardened militants have spread across Syria and further afield - and many of them aren't done fighting yet.
Zerohedge notes that it appears that the US allowed ISIS terrorists to freely leave areas under coalition control, according to no less than the BBC, while at the same time attempting to make the case before the public that a permanent Pentagon presence is needed in case of ISIS' return. But it's a familiar pattern by now: yesterday's proxies become today's terrorists, which return to being proxies again, all as part of justifying permanent US military presence on another nation's sovereign territory.
America's Syrian adventure went from public declarations of "we're staying out" to "just some logistical aid to rebels" to "okay, some mere light arms to fight the evil dictator" to "well, a few anti-tank missiles wouldn't hurt" to "we gotta bomb the new super-bad terror group that emerged!" to "ah but no boots on the ground!" to "alright kinetic strikes as a deterrent" to "but special forces aren't really boots on the ground per se, right?" to yesterday's Mattis declaration of an open-ended commitment. And on and on it goes.