airstrike on syrian troops weakens us effort to curb violence
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Airstrike on Syrian troops weakens US effort to curb violence

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Arab Today, arab today Airstrike on Syrian troops weakens US effort to curb violence

This is Why US-Led Airstrike on Syrian Troops 'Unlikely to Have Been Accident'
New York - Arab Today

The United States’ accidental bombing of Syrian troops over the weekend has put it on the defensive, undercutting American efforts to reduce violence in the civil war and open paths for humanitarian relief.

The United States had thought that if a deal to ease hostilities in Syria, struck by Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart in Geneva nine days ago, fell apart, it would reveal Russia’s duplicity in the war, in which Moscow has supported the Syrian president, Bashar al Assad, The New York Times reported on Monday.

Instead, the mistaken bombing — American pilots thought they were aiming at Daesh jihadists but instead killed more than 60 Syrian soldiers, according to the Russian military — again exposed the White House’s struggle to put together a coherent strategy in a multisided war. The United States has conflicting aims in the war, from defeating Daesh to ultimately easing Assad out of office.

Nearly a year after Kerry began a diplomatic process to reduce the violence, and then a political accord for a transition in power, he appears no closer to that goal than when he started. The early American calls for Assad to leave office have been muted because of fears that a power vacuum in Damascus would be exploited by jihadists.

The errant bombing, for which the administration apologized to Assad, also gave both the Russians and the Syrian government a propaganda bonanza: Russia suggested it was a result of an American reluctance to share intelligence, and the Assad government said, contrary to all other evidence, that the United States was trying to protect the Daesh.

The attempt to achieve seven consecutive days of a “reduction of hostilities” — the first step in a series of events envisioned in the deal between the United States and Russia — is not dead. The clock can start anew. But American officials said it was clear that the effort could fall apart, as did a cease-fire agreement in February.

American officials accused Russia of not pressing the Assad government to stop military activity and allow in humanitarian aid. Kerry, appearing on CNN on Sunday morning, called on Russia to stop “grandstanding” and to push the Assad government to honor the Geneva agreement, including allowing the delivery of aid to besieged areas.

Many American officials believe that the Russians were never serious about the deal that was sealed in Geneva. The officials argue that the Russians were looking for an excuse that would derail it and keep a status quo in which they have more control over events in Syria than any other power, with the possible exception of Iran. If so, the accidental bombing made that process easier.

But the deadly bombing underscored how difficult it has been to ensure that the American and Russian militaries do not become entangled on Syria’s complicated battlefield, much less to coordinate their targeting.

Under the current system, terse phone calls between the Russian military and the American command post in Qatar are supposed to allow each side to notify the other about the movement of its jets — sometimes giving only minutes of warning.

With world leaders and foreign ministers headed to New York for the annual opening of the United Nations General Assembly, Kerry will assemble a meeting Tuesday of the International Syria Support Group, the multinational body that has designed the plans for a reduction in violence and a political solution for Syria. That group includes the United States, Russia, China, Turkey, and European and Arab nations — each with different interests in the conflict.

Source: MENA

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airstrike on syrian troops weakens us effort to curb violence airstrike on syrian troops weakens us effort to curb violence

 



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