Defence lifts Syria air strike suspension

Frederick Owens
June 24, 2017

Syrian government and allied troops. Although Islamic State controlled the south bank of the river, coalition air strikes had destroyed the bridges connecting it to the city.

(IRIB News Agency, Morteza Fakhrinejad via AP, File).

(Arab 24 network, via AP, File). Russian Federation backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom Iran also supports, while the USA -led coalition is aligned with groups that oppose the Assad regime and ISIS. By launching 59 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian government airfield in April, he was lauded for enforcing a "red line" against chemical weapons use that Obama, a Democrat, failed to apply in 2013.

He further explained that the Syrian army, the legitimate Syrian government and their allies have been able to disrupt the U.S. plans to split Syria and the Americans started to act more aggressively, shooting down the Syrian jet.

Guterres played down expectations of a breakthrough in the next round of UN-led peace talks on Syria starting on July 10.

Tuesday's suspension was taken to allow coalition forces to assess the operational risk of air strikes, defence said, as US-backed forces seek to take back the city of Raqqa.

Others warned that without a broader endgame strategy, USA muscle-flexing risked a deeper confrontation with Syria or its backers, Iran and Russian Federation. Two other times this month, the us has shot down Iranian-made drones in southern Syria that were deemed to pose a threat to USA and partner forces.

Turkey sent its troops into northern Syria with the excuse that the leading Kurdish group is a terrorist organization.

Against that backdrop, a Russian fighter jet has tangled with a U.S. reconnaissance plane over the Baltic in a manoeuvre straight out of Top Gun.

The Obama administration trod carefully in this war, too timidly say his critics.

Why did the United States down another Syrian aircraft?

Such targets would be USA planes and surveillance drones.

As Assad strives to win his country back, with help from Russian Federation and Iran, Trump and his national security aides have not advanced a clear strategy of what Syria will look like, or who will run it, after the six-year-old bloodbath grinds to a halt.

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Nearly simultaneously, they advanced south and east of Aleppo all the way to Raqqa province, where the coalition is backing the mostly Kurdish force against IS.

And on Monday, a USA fighter jet shot down a pro-Syrian regime drone in southeastern Syria.

On several occasions in recent weeks, warplanes of the US-led coalition have also struck pro-regime forces to prevent them advancing from the Al Tanf garrison in southeastern Syria at a spot where the country's borders join Iraq and Jordan.

Around the end of May, the Syrian Army captured nearly 100 square kilometers in the desert sparsely populated Badia area a huge area that stretches to the southern border of Syria with Jordan and Iraq.

The repeated incidents in the vicinity of the Tanf camp, where US forces train and advise local ground forces in the fight against IS, add to soaring regional tensions that could spiral out of control just as the fight against the extremists enters a crucial phase, with USA -backed forces pushing into the groups de facto capital, the Syrian city of Raqqa. The base trains fighters of vetted forces to fight against the Islamic State.

It was a sharp escalation in an area that is essential in operations to secure Iraq's borders and potentially advance toward Deir el-Zour.

And, he says, it may be hard for the U.S.to avoid conflict in Syria.

The coalition said their goal is to defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

The Syrian army has also taken territory from retreating Islamic State militants in the western Raqqa countryside and seized back some oil fields and villages that had been under the militants' control for nearly three years.

"There's actually a line we have with the Russians that's a de-confliction line, and that line remains open and we remain in conversation with them", Goldfein said.

Graduates of a US-trained police force, which expects to be deployed in Raqqa, salute during a graduation ceremony near Ain Issa village, north of Raqqa, Syria, June 17, 2017. Rebel groups backed by the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel show no signs of giving up anytime soon.

"It doesn t look like anyone now intends to deliberately escalate further, but when you ve got these little skirmishes. the risk is that you can end up in an escalation by accident", said Sam Heller, a Syria expert at The Century Foundation. When she fled Syria, she only took her school books with her.

"The big losers are the Syrians and most of the other people of the region", Boyle said.

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