Written by Darius Shahtahmasebi; Originally appeared at TheAntiMedia.org
According to the Guardian, an estimated 900 U.S. troops are embedded with Syrian opposition forces that are currently within strike range of the Russian military. Over the weekend, the U.S. military claimed Russian jets had struck Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) positions in Deir ez-Zor east of the Euphrates River. The attack allegedly wounded six of these SDF fighters, but no American personnel were harmed.
The attack came not long after these confident SDF fighters gave the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) a “red line” not to cross — the Euphrates River. According to Reuters, the SAA had already crossed it, anyway. Now that we know Russia is continuing to provide the SAA with air power as it advances throughout this oil-rich region, it is clear these increasing developments are capable of worsening conflict between the fighting powers.
According to Newsweek, the Russian Defense Ministry already warned its American counterparts about the operations it intended to undertake.
“To avoid unnecessary escalation, the command of the Russian troops in Syria revealed the boundaries of the military operation in Deir ez-Zor to the American partners through the existing communication channel,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
Further, as quoted by Russian-state owned outlet RT, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said:
“Within the framework of this operation, the fighters, armored vehicles, and objects of terrorists are being destroyed on both western and eastern banks of the Euphrates.
At the same time, the Russian Air Force makes pinpoint strikes only on reconnaissance targets confirmed by several channels in IS-controlled areas.”
“Over the past few days, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, Russian control and reconnaissance facilities have not identified a single combat of Islamic State terrorists with armed representatives of any ‘third force.’ Therefore, only representatives of the international coalition can answer the question as to how ‘opposition members’ or ‘military advisers of the international coalition’ managed to get to the IS-held areas in the eastern part of Deir ez-Zor without striking a blow.”
Even the Guardian noted that the “march by the SDF aims to prevent Syrian troops and their allies from expanding their presence along the border with Iraq.” Unlike the United States, the Russian military was formally invited into Syria by the country’s government — the same government that retains a seat at the UN General Assembly. While conducting its operations, the Russian military is also not attempting to claim any Syrian territory for its own uses, but instead, is attempting to aid the current Syrian government in reclaiming its own territory. This is not to absolve Russia or Syria of their duty to protect civilians – but that’s how international law works (or was supposed to work).
The U.S. does not have a legal basis to operate within Syria; even former Secretary of State John Kerry has admitted as much.
Never letting the nuisance that is the law get in the way of the American military, it seems as though the U.S. may continue pursuing this strategy, which will ultimately bring the American air force and the Russian air force together to bomb the same territory with complete polar opposite intentions while supporting rival forces on the ground.
This is easily one of the biggest geopolitical events in recent times, taking place right under our very noses. Yet it is not even headline news on any of the corporate media outlets’ home pages right now (seriously, check for yourself).