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19 May, 2017 12:17

Mission creep: 'US & UK forces getting sucked into Syrian hot war'

Mission creep: 'US & UK forces getting sucked into Syrian hot war'

The presence of British, as well as American forces in Syria, is indisputably illegal under international law; this is an act of aggression no matter what the reason given by the US-led coalition, political commentators told RT.

The US-led coalition carried out a bombing raid against forces fighting for the Syrian government in the south of the country.

The coalition air strike targeting pro-government forces in Syria was unacceptable and violated the country's sovereignty, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

The incident happened on Thursday close to Syria's border with Iraq and Jordan near a remote base where the Pentagon trains its rebel forces.

RT: The US government said this latest strike did not mean a change in its Syria policy. Do you think that's the case?

Peter Ford, former UK ambassador to Syria: No, it’s not. What we see here is a clear case of mission creep. The Americans may start out with the purest of intentions, but their actions show that they are being sucked into a hot war in Syria as - very significantly - are British forces. This comes, remember, in the middle of a British election campaign and the forces which the coalition aircraft allegedly were protecting include British, as well as American forces. Now, the UK parliament never mandated the government to send British ground troops into Syria. And here is clear evidence that they are there, they are in this hot war up to their necks… Also, their presence is indisputably illegal under international law, as of course is the presence of any US forces.

The US is trying to block the attempt of Russia in establishing the de-escalation zones in Syria. These strikes that come in the south-eastern part of Syria prove that the US is intending to escalate the tension in southern Syria as a part of its attempt first to drive a wedge between Damascus and Baghdad and prevent them from having any geographical link on the one hand. On the other hand, this also proves the US intends at imposing its own influence in southern Syria to destabilize the Syrian regime by hitting in the south while it was able to stabilize the situation in the north much to its favor by supporting the Kurds on one hand and the Turks on the other hand. - Dr. Jamal Wakeem, professor of history and international relations at Lebanese University in Beirut.

RT: The militia group hit by the air strike is involved in the fight against Islamic State. Is the US coalition playing a dangerous game by targeting such forces?

Patrick Henningsen, editor of the 21st Century Wire: Not only this, they are doing so in Syrian airspace on Syrian sovereign territories. This is an act of aggression. No matter what the reason given by the US-led coalition, it is an act of aggression in Syrian airspace within Syria. Who does it benefit? This is the big question. Does it benefit anybody except perhaps ISIS in this case? This just reminds us what happened in April when the US launched a major Tomahawk cruise missile strike on a Syrian air force base, which was the base that launched three-quarters of the air sorties from the Syrian air force against ISIS in the area of Palmyra, where the Syria army made some great advances over the last six weeks… And then we see this happen today. I personally don’t think it’s a coincidence.

RT: Russia, Turkey, and Iran agreed on de-escalation zones in Syria, and the US supported that. Is this a potential violation of the deal?

PH: Yes, it is because what is not included in the de-escalation agreements with the so-called safe zones from the Astana process is Jabhat Al-Nusra and ISIS activity. So, clearly, we have a situation with this incident whether it is the NDF or Hezbollah or Iranian militia, or any militias allied with the Syrian Arab Army or the Syrian Arab Army itself. If they are in active operations against ISIS or Al-Nusra and that is completely within their purview, and that is outside of the Astana agreement. This was my big worry when the Astana agreement was laid down and memorandum was signed is that ISIS could just appear out of nowhere, so conveniently…

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