Saturday, 21 July, 2018

U.S. missile strike complicates Syria crisis

09 Apr 2017, 23:07 ( 09 Apr, 2017)

DF-Xinhua Report by Hummam Sheikh Ali
In this handout photo provided by the U.S. Navy, U.S. navy guided-missile destroyer USS Porter fires a tomahawk land attack missile in the Mediterranean Sea, April 7, 2017. Photo Xinhua/U.S. Navy.

The U.S. missile attack on a Syrian air base has made the Syrian crisis more complicated and is threatening more militarization, analysts said.

The unprecedented attack on Friday marked the first declared military action by Washington against the Syrian army.

At dawn Friday, the United States targeted the Shayrat Air Base in Homs Province with nearly 60 Tomahawk missiles, killing six Syrian soldiers and nine civilians, including four children, and destroying nine Syrian warplanes, according to the Syrian government.

The U.S. government said the attack came in retaliation for the strikes by the Syrian air force on the town of Khan Sheikhoun on Tuesday.

Activists accused the Syrian army of firing toxic gas on the town, killing 70 people, while the Syrian army said the strike targeted an arm depot containing toxic gas, blaming the rebels for stockpiling such materials.  

Munther Khaddam, a Syrian opposition figure, told Xinhua that the strike will have negative repercussions on the Syrian crisis.

"The U.S. attack is condemned and no honorable Syrian accepts what happened, particularly in the recent months when the political solution started to become clearer with serious steps taken," he said.

"The Syrian crisis has returned to the first square: the violence," Khaddam noted.

He criticized the broad-based Syrian rebel groups, which welcomed the strike.

"Some groups are still betting on the military solution and foreign intervention, but nothing will save Syria except the political solution," he said.

The opposition figure believes that the strike will intensify Russian and Iranian intervention in Syria, in a sign that the Russian-Iranian fight will be upped against foreign-backed rebels.

For his part, Anas Joudeh, the head of the Nation Building Movement, posted on his official Facebook account "Rest in peace 2254," referring to the peace process derailed by the first U.S. missile attack on Syria.

2254 is the UN Security Council resolution adopted in 2015, endorsing a road map for peace process in Syria and setting a timetable for talks.

Meanwhile, Abdul-Bari Atwan, a London-based Palestinian journalist, said the American attack is a reminder of the country's allegations and lies regarding the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which were never found and proven to be non-existent.

He described the attack as "the new catastrophe that is threatening the stability of the region".

According to Atwan, the U.S. attack constitutes a turning point in the Syrian crisis, as it will either lead to an escalating military situation until a big war between the U.S. and Russia, or a political deal based on an understanding between the two powers.

But for now, the initial indicators suggest a tension that threatens the political efforts, other analysts said.

On Sunday, the Russian-Iranian joint operation room in Syria said in a statement that Syria's allies will strongly respond to any aggression against Syria, adding that the U.S. attack is a dangerous precedent and a violent aggression on the sovereignty of the Syrian state and people.

"What America has done in attacking Syria is crossing redlines and from now on we will strongly respond to any aggression by any party and America knows well our capability to respond," said the statement.

It added that the allies of the Syrian government will increase their support to the Syrian army following the U.S. missile strike on a Syrian airbase.

According to the statement, the allies of the Syrian government are closely following the movement of the U.S. in northern Syria and northwestern Iraq.

"They should know that we are aware of their attempts to control that geographic spot, and that makes them illegal occupation forces," it said.

"Russia and Iran will not allow America to control the world and will stand in its face with all available power no matter what will happen," the statement concluded. 

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