How far will US go in Syria?

How far will US go in Syria?
Nobody wants the US or Turkey to step directly into Syria as it would create a precedent. Also it’s unknown how it would all end up and how the Syrian state would defend itself, says Syrian political analyst Ammar Waqqaf.

US warplanes could begin to target government forces in Syria if they consider them to be a danger to the Pentagon-trained rebels. According to several reports following the authorization of strikes on Friday, the US has already begun using force to defend rebels under pressure from the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Nusra front.

READ MORE:Taking sides in Syrian civil war? Obama authorizes airstrikes ‘to defend’ US-trained rebels

RT:The White House is not ruling out the possibility that US warplanes could directly target Assad's forces. Why does the international community not say something about this escalation?

Ammar Waqqaf: Nobody really understands the full depth of the plan so to speak. I think everyone knows that the US needs to concede Turkey a little bit in order to bring her into a more effective sort of coalition and consensus against ISIS, paving the ground for a sort of rational political process where everybody would be interested. They don’t understand how these new Syrian forces are going to play into that plan. I think what we heard [on Monday] from the US Pentagon Spokesman was a sort of message. I doubt that anyone thinks that the Syrian forces are going to allow these few fighters – I think tens of them – to walk into any military site or any Syrian town without being confronted.

There is a line that the Americans are trying to cross here whether they engage directly with the Syrian forces or not. Some say they are just saying this in order to prepare public opinion for an accidental clash and others say this is some sort of a message in order to appease the Turks so as to invite them more to this coalition.

RT:The US secretary of state, John Kerry, explained how Washington justifies such actions against the government of another country saying that the Assad regime has lost its legitimacy. What is the main target here? What are they trying to achieve?

AW: I think that particular statement from him was to appease those who he was having a meeting with in Doha - the Gulf Foreign ministers. But the US and other players realize that crossing the line of a sovereign country, stepping over a sovereign country, attacking another sovereign country even establishing free zones or whatever is an attack on sovereignty according to international law. The Iranians, 10 weeks ago, when the Turkish bombs started, reiterated this point. [On Monday] the foreign minister of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, reiterated the same point. Nobody is going to allow the Americans or the Turks to have a direct attack. This would be a precedent. Previously it was a proxy war. Stepping into Syria directly, that would be a first and then it would probably reach… nobody knows how this would end up, how the Syrian state would defend [itself]. This would be a clear attack against Syrian sovereignty. As long as the US is keeping the bombs and planes against Al-Qaeda affiliated groups – ISIS, Al-Nusra Front – the Syrian government would be happy to accommodate. Otherwise, I don’t think they will be very happy to allow someone else to participate directly in the war against them.

RT:The strikes have been authorized by Barack Obama himself - without Congress approval. Why is one man giving the go-ahead to foreign intervention?

AW: It’s just about telling the outside world, telling everybody who is listening and watching that this is coming from the top and that the US is determined to do this. We’ve seen previously, when the coalition started their attacks, that they have bombed the so-called Khorasan group area which is not ISIS, part of Al-Nusra perhaps, again Al-Qaeda affiliated and nobody said anything about Obama authorizing that particular attack. So they are just saying that this is not an unintentional sort of thing that the US is very determined to do. But again I don’t think it would materialize because the line they will be crossing is very sensitive.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.