The war has begun. The precursor to World War III or a second Cold War happened when Washington fired as many as 59 Tomahawk missiles against Syria over an alleged Assad-backed chemical attack on civilians.
In fact, nobody anticipated such a reckless attack on Syria by the Trump administration. Only days before the missile attack, the administration had made claims it was looking for a peaceful resolution to the 6-year-bloody conflict. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the United States was not interested in removing President Bashar al-Assad from power. The two top diplomats explained that the fate of Assad should be decided by the Syrian people.
But after the allegation of Syrian government forces using chemical weapons against civilians emerged in the media, Trump announced that his views on Assad have changed. He announced that Assad had no future role in Syria. Subsequently, President Trump ordered the missile strike against a key Syrian military airfield, from where the US claims the chemical attack was launched.
A day after the United States strike, allies of Syria, including Russia and Iran have exercised high restraint by not retaliating against the United States, so far avoiding escalation of the situation. Both countries only issued verbal condemnations against the US military strike.
Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the missile strike was a strategic error, and a repeat of the mistakes of the past by the United States. President Vladimir Putin also said the aggressive move by the United States was not permissible and violated international law.
But two days after the strike, after a brief meeting, the allies supporting the Syrian government have issued a strong-worded warning to the United States. Russia, Iran, Lebanon’s Hezbollah group and other allied forces fighting in support of the Syrian government said in plain language that the United States crossed a “red line” by launching the missile attack.
According to the group, any future blatant “aggression” against Syria would result with an equally hard hit against whosoever carries out such an attack.
“The aggression against Syria oversteps all red lines. We will react firmly to any aggression against Syria and to any infringement of red lines, whoever carries them out,” read a statement from the Syria-based joint operations room for government backers Russia, Iran and allied forces including Lebanon’s Hezbollah, on April 9
The statement also accused the United States of acting before any investigation into the alleged chemical attack. It further rebuked the United States for its refusal to seek approval from the United Nations before carrying out the strike.
The group said Washington knows that the Syrian government backers have the capability to strike at United States targets. The group also pledged its unflagging support for the Syrian government to defeat the Western-backed rebels and other militants in the country.
“The United States knows very well our ability to react. We, as Syria’s allies, will increase our military support toward Syria and support its people in many other ways,” the group explained in the statement.
Meanwhile, in the midst of this strong statement from Syrian allies, the Trump administration is running around looking for sympathy from the international community.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is due to visit Moscow, told reporters that Russia is to be blamed for failing to stop the Syrian government from the alleged chemical attack. He also accused Moscow of failing to carry out the 2013 agreement to secure and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.
Tillerson further added that the United States expects Russia to take a tougher stance against Syria by rethinking its alliance with President Assad because “every time one of these horrific attacks occurs, it draws Russia closer into some level of responsibility.”
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