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(FNA) ~ The four “de-escalation zones” in Syria were supposed to be safe zones for everyone, even “moderate” rebels, but now the Trump White House and the Pentagon regime have done the unreasonable.

Shredding the rules of engagement and brushing under the carpet the International Law, US warplanes on Thursday attacked a vehicle convoy in a “de-escalation zone” near al-Tanf, identifying the targets are Syrian forces, and destroying multiple vehicles. Casualty figures are as of yet unknown, and the US claiming that the May 18 attack was “defensive in nature” is rubbish.

The targeted forces were 55km away from a “US training base” at al-Tanf, where US occupying troops are stationed, and the Daraa safe zone is farther away from the area that the base is in.

Syrian forces didn’t pose any threat to US ground troops. They were not there to fight. They were there to make sure the safe zones agreement holds.

It’s an agreement between Iran, Russia and Turkey, under which four de-escalation zones have gone into effect, with an aim of separating warring factions around the country.

This was working until US warplanes decided to attack Syrian forces. This makes clear that a lot can still go wrong with the deal, as the US says it has no intention to respect the agreement and will continue to dismiss the terms of the agreement, which is what the terrorist groups of ISIL, Al-Qaeda, and their regional sponsors want.

To put it mildly, if this is not state terrorism and an act of war, we don’t know what is. The US claims its ground troops are stationed in the base at al-Tanf, while in fact it is housing special forces training Qaeda-linked rebels to fight against the Syrian government.

More so, as a presidential candidate, the world’s most famous Islamophobe spent much of the election campaign needling, critiquing, denouncing, and even threatening Saudi Arabia and its terror proxies in Iraq and Syria.

Yet as president, Trump is making his first foreign visit to Riyadh, all while giving the go-ahead to US warplanes to target Syrian forces and allies on the ground, which are fighting ISIL and Al-Qaeda.

It’s a true sight to behold: US warplanes targeting Syrian forces and allies within the de-escalation zones is deliberate and by design. The world is repulsed by this deceitfulness, as it has little to do with fighting terrorism and everything to do with regime change in Damascus.

This is not the first time US warplanes intentionally or accidentally struck the Syrian army.

  • Back in April 7, the United States launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian military airfield in al-Sha’irat, located about 40 kilometers from the city of Homs.
  • Moreover, on September 17, 2016, US-led coalition aircraft carried out four strikes against the Syrian army near the Deir Ezzur airport, killing 62 soldiers and wounding some 100.

In the face of International Law forbidding unilateral use of force except in self-defense, the Pentagon regime has no right to unilaterally launch strikes against a country that has not attacked the United States, and without any authorization from the United Nations. Doing so violates some of the most important legal constraints on the use of force.

Bombing Syria is a diversionary tactic to make intervention in Syria seem more useful than it is. The Iranian and Russian governments are not going to be intimidated by an attack on Syria’s government. They are much more likely to become more intransigent, and they view it as blatant animosity directed towards them.

Instead of respecting the de-escalation zones agreement and appreciating how close the US has come to making a huge and potentially very costly mistake, the Trump White House seems only too eager to blunder into a new war. Their cheap arguments do not provide justification for the Pentagon regime to do an end run around International Law. The hypocrisy of their rationale to train Qaeda-allied “moderates” is galling too. War-party Washington is undermining the de-escalation zones agreement, which the world community supports as helpful, and which does not justify still more US lawlessness.

The Trump administration’s strikes contravene the UN Charter, which is a binding treaty obligation for the US and helps preserve international peace and security. Article 2(4) of the UN Charter prohibits the use of force in the territory of another state unless authorized by the Security Council or in self-defense in response to a sudden attack. Neither condition was met before May 18 strike.

For all these reasons, the United Nations and the international civil society must act swiftly and do its job by taking up the monumental question of whether the Trump White House and the Pentagon regime may continue to use military force against Syria.

To do otherwise would be an abdication by the UN of the powers reserved for it under Article 2(4) of the UN Charter.


Syria talks overshadowed by US military strike


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