Why Russia’s Warning To US Before Strike On Syria Base Holds A Signal For The Ukraine War
US military officials have told The Wall Street Journal that Russia forces have carried out multiple military operations against the US-led coalition in Syria this month. This included a Wednesday attack on the al-Tanf garrison along the Iraq border in southeast Syria, though so far it appears the operations have targeted American proxies, namely local Arab and Kurdish factions that US trainers have been supporting.
Given that Russia informed the Americans of the attacks ahead of time via a military-to-military communications line, the Pentagon believes Russia “wasn’t actively targeting American troops but was harassing the US mission in Syria.”
With al-Tanf, US officials described that “a combat outpost at the garrison” was hit in the Russian strike, but no US troops were there at the time, in an attack that appeared to target ”US-backed Maghawir al-Thawra fighters” – which Russia says was responsible for an earlier roadside bomb attack against its troops. There were no reports of casualties, as coalition forces quickly evacuated due to the prior Russian warning.
It’s clear that this is perhaps the closest Russian and US forces have ever come to direct conflict, something the Pentagon has expressed a desire to avoid, but said Russia’s recent actions are a serious “provocation” and mark an escalation.
“We seek to avoid miscalculation or a set of actions that could lead to unnecessary conflict: that remains our goal,” Army Gen. Erik Kurilla, the head of US Central Command said. “However, Russia’s recent behavior has been provocative and escalatory.”
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