World America's widening role in Syria's civil war

20:45  19 june  2017
20:45  19 june  2017 Source:   AFP

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Syrian Civil War .

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is not deepening its role in Syria ' s civil war but will act defensively when needed, U. S . Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Thursday, after strikes against advancing militia backed by Syria ' s government.

An American F/A-18E Super Hornet, like this one pictured in the region last October, shot down a Syrian regime warplane on Sunday evening© Provided by AFP An American F/A-18E Super Hornet, like this one pictured in the region last October, shot down a Syrian regime warplane on Sunday evening

The unprecedented US downing of a Syrian regime warplane highlights the rapidly shifting dynamic in the six-year conflict where President Donald Trump has given American commanders a freer rein in the battlefield.

The United States insisted Monday it wants no broader role in Syria's civil war, and seeks only to destroy the Islamic State group, but the weekend incident shows the limits of America's ability to stay disengaged.

With myriad competing forces quickly converging in Syria, and new powers delegated to Trump's commanders, the risk of additional confrontation is real.

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How Syria ’ s civil war became America ’ s problem. But they will play a significant role in determining America ’ s role in Syria — and, possibly, the future course of the Syrian civil war itself.

Syria ’ s civil war is the most dangerous and destructive crisis on the planet. Unfortunately, President Barack Obama has greatly compounded the dangers by hiding the US role in Syria from the American people and from world opinion.

- What happened?

An American F/A-18E Super Hornet shot down a Syrian SU-22 on Sunday evening as it "dropped bombs" near a US-backed alliance called the Syrian Democratic Forces, who are fighting IS, according to the Pentagon.

The incident unfolded south of the town of Tabqa, near the IS stronghold of Raqa, the main focus for anti-IS efforts in Syria, after regime forces had engaged SDF fighters.

According to the US-led coalition fighting the jihadists, the Syrian warplane was shot down "in accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defense of coalition partnered forces."

Syria's army disputed the US account, saying its plane was hit while conducting a mission against IS.

A US official told AFP the pilot of the Syrian plane appeared to have ejected before the jet was hit, though his fate was unknown.

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WASHINGTON, May 18 (Reuters) - The United States is not deepening its role in Syria ' s civil war but will act defensively when needed, U. S . Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Thursday, after strikes against advancing militia backed by Syria ' s government. "No.

The United States is notdeepening its role in Syria ' s civil war but will act defensivelywhen needed, U. S . Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Thursday,after strikes against advancing militia backed by Syria 'sgovernment.

- How serious is this?

The shoot-down marks the first time a US jet has downed a Syrian regime warplane, despite leading a massive air campaign targeting IS in Syria for nearly three years.

Russia, which is flying its own air war in Syria to prop up President Bashar al-Assad, condemned the incident and said it had shut off a special "deconfliction" hotline with the US military, through which the two powers can warn each other of operations and avoid mishaps.

The US military later said it was seeking to re-establish the hotline.

Sunday's incident marks the latest in a series of US attacks on pro-regime forces.

On April 7, Trump authorized a cruise missile strike against a Syrian air base in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack by the regime against civilians.

Then on May 18, coalition aircraft struck a pro-regime convoy apparently transporting Shia militiamen as it drove toward a coalition garrison at At-Tanaf near the Jordanian border.

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Download PDF flyer. U. S . Role in Syria ’ s Civil War . ACT for America , a national anti-Muslim hate group, had called for a “March Against Sharia” in Santa Clara, Cal PSL Statement.

Iran’ s widening role in Syria has helped Mr. Assad climb back from near-defeat in less than a year. Syria ’ s bloodshed is shaping into more than a civil war : It is now a proxy war among regional powers jockeying for influence in the wake of the Arab Spring revolutions.

A similar incident occurred June 6, and on June 8 a US warplane shot down a pro-regime drone in Syria after it fired at coalition forces.

- Deepening American involvement?

The Pentagon has repeatedly stressed it has no interest in increasing its role in Syria's civil war, and that its sole focus is on defeating IS.

What the recent incidents "indicate is a complicated and complex battlespace, and we continue to try to operate transparently and to communicate intentions around our actions so it is clear we are focusing on the defeat of ISIS in Syria," US Central Command spokesman Colonel John Thomas said on Monday.

Officials emphasize the strikes were all conducted in self-defense after pro-regime forces ignored warnings.

But the incidents also highlight the changing dynamics of the Syrian civil war.

Until recently, pro-regime forces were focused on fighting rebels in western Syria but victories in Aleppo and elsewhere have freed them up to move east, pushing them into contact with the SDF.

Many analysts see Iran's hand behind this push towards eastern Syria and the Iraqi border.

- New powers

Trump, who campaigned on a pledge to quickly defeat IS, ordered his generals to come up with a revised plan to defeat the jihadist group.

The review resulted in an "annihilation campaign" aimed at killing all IS fighters, and saw commanders gain greater autonomy to make battlefield decisions and approve strikes.

Thomas said the new powers would not have played any role in the recent decisions to attack pro-regime forces, as these were all ordered in self-defense.

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