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Pictures of British special forces in Syria seen ‘for first time’

Photographs show the soldiers stationed next to a rebel base by the Syria-Iraq border

Published: Updated:

Pictures of British special forces on ground in Syria were seen for “the first time” on Sunday after BBC published the images.

The photographs, dating to June this year, showed heavily-armed soldiers with their Al-Thalab vehicles.

The vehicles, which take their names from Al-Thalab - an Arabic word for fox - are militarized Toyota 4x4s.

The military vehicles were seen stationed next to the rebel New Syrian Army base in Al-Tanaf base near the Syrian border with Iraq. The soldiers were reportedly securing the base following a failed attack by the ISIS.

While the UK Parliament had previously rejected proposals to send British troops to Syria, it permitted airstrikes against ISIS in late 2015 and extended the UK military action in the conflict-torn country.

However, the Daily Mail, a conservative British paper, dubbed the presence of these British special forces as a “secret ground war.”

The Daily Mail and The Guardian, another British newspaper, asserted that the presence of British special forces do not require parliamentary approval to be deployed.

So far, the Syrian rebels acknowledged that they are receiving help from the UK at least in terms of training but they will not comment on whether there are any British soldiers on ground.

“We are receiving special forces training from our British and American partners,” a New Syrian Army official, who kept his name anonymous, told BBC. “We’re also getting weapons and equipment from the Pentagon as well as complete air support.”

The BBC did not mention how they obtained their exclusive pictures. The Guardian, meanwhile, warned that the British special forces may face challenges to their privacy due to the widespread use of cameras.