Just as Da‘ish terrorists were defeated in Iraq and Syria, the US has come up with another excuse to continue its illegal military presence in Syria. On January 14, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that US forces would stay in Syria for the foreseeable future. He also announced that the US would create a 30,000-strong “border force” in Syria comprising mainly the Kurds. The US has not given up on overthrowing the government of Bashar al-Asad.
Russia and Iran, both of whom have been supporting the Syrian government, immediately denounced the move calling it illegal and a clear violation of Syria’s sovereignty. Damascus was equally forceful in denouncing the planned border force as a “blatant assault” on the country’s sovereignty. The Syrian news agency, SANA, citing a foreign ministry spokesperson reported that the army was determined to frustrate the US “conspiracy, end the presence of the US, its agents and tools in Syria, establish full control over the entire Syria territory, and preserve the country’s sovereignty.”
Even NATO member Turkey criticized the move because Ankara sees the Kurds as mortal enemies, denouncing them as terrorists. On January 20, Turkish tanks rolled into northwestern Syria around the Kurdish populated area of Afrin. This occurred at a time when the Syrian army was making progress against ISIS terrorists in Idlib province, in the same area where Turkey made its incursion.
While accusing Russia and Iran of creating instability in the region, it is the US that is the chief culprit. Its presence in Syria is not only illegal it maintains some 5,000 Special Forces operating from an illegal airbase inside the country. Further, the US wants to “eliminate” Iranian presence in the country.
Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on January 18, David Satterfield, acting US assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, when asked why US forces were still in Syria, blurted out, “We are deeply concerned with the activities of Iran, with the ability of Iran to enhance those activities through a greater ability to move materiel into Syria. And I would rather leave the discussion at that point.” Unlike US forces, Iranian advisors are in Syria at the request of Damascus.
America’s assertions that its forces were in Syria to combat ISIS terrorists are completely false. Not only have US helicopters airlifted many of these terrorists out of the country to save them for another day but according to Russia, some ISIS fighters are being trained and integrated into anti-Asad forces.
While the US’ disruptive role in Syria is evident, as is that of Zionist Israel that frequently violates Syrian air space and carries out aerial and artillery attacks, Turkey is playing a double game. On the one hand it is involved in the Astana talks to establish deconfliction zones in Syria in order to reduce the level of fighting while on the other it is assisting members of the Free Syrian Army.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the US of seeking to split up Syria, saying it “does not want to keep Syria as a state in its current borders.” This is America’s “Plan B” in case the terrorists failed in dislodging al-Asad from power.
The US is clearly preparing for a war in Syria that could easily spill over into a wider conflict with Iran, and potentially Russia. There is no limit to US wickedness and criminal conduct.