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19 Jun, 2017 14:42

‘US becoming de facto defense shield for Islamic State in Syria’

‘US becoming de facto defense shield for Islamic State in Syria’

The US is increasingly accelerating the tempo against Syrian government forces, and this doesn’t bode well for US prestige around the world, explains political scientist and author Kaveh Afrasiabi to RT.

A Syrian military jet was shot down by an American warplane near the embattled Syrian city of Raqqa on Sunday.

Damascus says the pilot was carrying out a bombing run against Islamic State terrorists. The Pentagon claims it downed the plane for bombing US-backed forces because the Syrian fighter jet had strayed into a so-called ‘de-confliction zone.'

Washington says the Syrian military is forbidden from entering the area where the US-backed SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) are based.

The US-led coalition recently conducted several bombing raids against pro-government fighters in Syria. In those cases, the same justification was used by the Pentagon that the pro-Assad forces had breached a 'de-confliction' zone.

'US needs to clarify its stance'

Kaveh Afrasiabi, political scientist and author

"It is pretty obvious at this point that the US is increasingly accelerating the tempo against Syrian government forces and turning in a de-facto defense shield for the ISIS terrorists. And it doesn’t bode well for the US and its prestige in the region and on the global scene.

There is no legal justification for this act of piracy. We need urgent consultations at the UN Security Council in order to resolve this growing crisis. Because let’s be clear, this situation in that part of the world is rapidly spinning out of control. Ever since Donald J. Trump returned from Saudi Arabia, we have seen an escalation of tension and conflict. It's not only Saudi Arabia. - Gerald Horne, author and historian.

And the US has been invited by [Turkish] President Erdogan to the next peace talks in Astana which are about to happen on July 4. And the US needs to clarify its stance whether it is going to side with the terrorists fighting the Syrian government, or whether it is going to go by its own statement after the downing of the Syrian airplanes saying that it invites all the parties in the Syrian conflict to unite against ISIS terrorists. And there is a contradiction there that ought to make George Orwell shiver in his grave."

‘Blatant attack on Syrian sovereignty’

Ammar Waqqaf, director of the UK-based think tank ‘Gnosos’

"What is happening really is that the US is desperate to establish some sort of sphere of influence inside Syria. We’ve seen that in the southeast, along the borders with Iraq. This is about establishing some sort of a zone whereby the Kurds have the upper hand. They have been obviously promised some protection by the Americans; they are being given weapons, and so on. This will lead to some clashes later on because there are other minorities later on because there are other minorities: Arabs, Christians, Syrians…who would not feel sympathy to such a decision. But the Americans since they announced about a year ago an operation to isolate Raqqa, what they were announcing in a sense, from Damascus' point of view, was a zone where the Syrian Army was not going to be allowed to approach. In a sense, this is a blatant attack on Syrian sovereignty. The Syrian Army should be able to operate anywhere in Syria...

Up until a year ago, the US was actively or passively using ISIS forces to put pressure on the Syrian Army. Now they seem to be actively protecting them and this is really madness. But the fact of the matter is, the Syrian Army needs to protect itself."

'US slowing down Syrian forces'

Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor Veterans Today

"The lead in establishing the red lines is right on the money. Because what has been going on here is once the…Kurdish forces came through Southern Aleppo; they are moving down, they are grabbing some of the main roads so they can have a shorter line of supply. But they have also been capturing the oil areas south of Raqqa. And for reconstruction and for the long game, Syria has to have as much control over its energy resources as possible. And the Kurds already have a lot of those up in the Kurdish region. So, what I think was going on is that they were trying to slow down and send a message to Syria that 'We will try to slow down your forces so that the ISIS forces could escape to Deir ez-Zor, we will chase them, and we will recapture those oil fields."

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