American strike against the regime has limited influence and an escalation in international tension

تحرير عبيدة النبواني | ترجمة فرح ناصيف | تحرير الترجمة Freda Hocaine 🕔 تم النشر بتاريخ : 14 أبريل، 2018 3:53:18 م تقرير حي دوليعسكريسياسي الكيماوي

The American strike against the regime has limited influence and an escalation in international tension

The U.S. President Donald Trump announced early on Saturday the start of a military strike against the Syrian government for its use of chemicals in the city of Douma, which killed dozens of civilians and wounded hundreds. About an hour later, the Defense Minister James Mattes announced the end of the military strike.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday that the Syrian regime's positions in Syria had been hit by more than 100 rockets fired by the U.S., British and French forces. Two U.S. ships located in the Red Sea carried out the shelling alongside two B-1 bombers, which struck from the Al-Tanf military base, according to a statement by the Russian Defense Ministry.

The Russian Defense noted that Al-Dumayr Airbase (the airport from where the chemical weapons that bombed Douma city were launched) was exposed to 12 winged missiles. He added that the Syrian regime's air defenses managed to intercept them all. Russian Air Force Chief of Staff, Sergey Rodzkoy, said that the air defenses blocked 71 missiles during the bombing, and further added that Moscow would reconsider the Syrian regime's delivery of the S-300 air defense system after the western strike.

On Saturday, a source from the French presidency said that French planes of the Rafale and Mirage were involved in air strikes on Syrian regime positions, along with four frigates. Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Jean-Pierre Laudrian said that the objective of the military strike against the Syrian government had been achieved and that they had no intention of launching further attacks in Syria.

On Saturday, the British Prime Minister, Theresa May also said that the missile strike on the Syrian government’s positions was both correct and legal. May added that these strikes aim to “deter the Syrian government from the use of chemical weapons and to send a message to other countries that the use of these weapons is unacceptable,” pointing out that these strikes were limited and did not aim to change the Assad regime.

The Turkish foreign ministry welcomed the Western tripartite strike against the Syrian regime, saying it was "an appropriate response" to a chemical attack on the city of Douma. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also considered Western strikes on the Syrian regime as "necessary" to warn Assad against using chemical weapons again.

On the other hand, Russian President Vladimir Putin called for an urgent Security Council meeting against the backdrop of this strike, saying that "US actions in Syria increased the humanitarian disaster and caused suffering to civilians as well as damage to international relations.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also said that the US-led Western strike on the Syrian regime "would only lead to destruction and devastation," adding that the Americans are using these “attacks” to justify their presence in the region.

Detective officer for management of chemical warfare: The Syrian government was ready and is now capable of using chemical weapons

The joint American-British-French attack targeted a number of Syrian government sites, most notably the scientific research institutes in the areas of Barzeh and Jamraya, and in addition to the military, the 41st Brigade, the 105th Brigade of the Republican Guards, al-Reheiba area in Eastern al-Qalamoun, the Air Defense Base in Jabal Qassioun, as well as other locations in the western Homs countryside.

A dissident from the Department of Chemical War, Abdul Salam Abdul Razzaq, reported to SMART that “the strikes targeted some
military sites in and around Damascus, including the scientific research centers in Barzeh and Jamraya and the air defense battalion in Qassioun (which is responsible for protecting the capital), the al-Damayr and Mezzeh airports, as well as several unidentified military sites in al-Qalamoun and al-Ksawah”.

Abdel Razzaq added that the strike targeted the Syrian government for using chemical weapons in the capital. It started with the research centers that produce these weapons, especially in Jamraya, and struck through to the military headquarters of the 4th division and the airports from which the aircraft loading for such weapons took place.

Abdul Razzaq said that “the impact [of these strikes] is not clear so far. However, at best it can be said that if these strikes did manage to destroy their targets completely, then they would have had at least a partial effect on the Syrian government and its chemical program.” He noted that the strike could just be a military tool for delivering a political blow.

The captain of the chemical warfare department of the Syrian government stated that there are many existing Syrian government sites for chemical weapons, in addition to research centers, warehouses, and research projects to develop missiles and supply them with heads loaded with poison gas. These are located in western Hama, Latakia, and Misyaf countryside.

Abdul Razzaq noted that this strike was not valid because the Syrian government was prepared to receive them. Abdul Razzaq suspected that the Syrian government had evacuated most of the target sites in advance before the bombing. He added that most of the critical sites in the vicinity of the capital Damascus had been left in the last few days since the start of the American threat. Now, he believes that the Syrian government can resume targeting the Syrian people with the chemical weapons.

The Political and Military Analyst Brigadier General, Asaad al-Zu'bi, revealed to SMART that the loyalist forces had cooperation with three Russian officers in preparation for the chemical attack. He said that the gas used was prepared by Russian experts at the scientific research center in the region of Jamraya about a month before the massacre of Douma. On Mar. 25, it was then transferred to al-Reheiba warehouses, Northeast Damascus, including the 81 Brigade of the Third division in Eastern al-Qalamoun. Finally, the gas arrived at al-Damayr Military Airport, which is less than 30 km away from Douma.

Al Assad's regime and its allies deny the attack and accuse Western countries of "fabricating it."

The American strikes came in retaliation for a chemical attack by the loyalist forces on Douma city, which killed around 40 civilians and injured over 1,000 others. As always, the loyalist forces and their allies denied their responsibility for the massacre.

The strike coincided with Moscow calling for negotiations to holding any military retaliation against the Syrian Government. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its hope of not reaching the point of a military confrontation with the United States. Moscow also announced that it would present the Security Council with a draft decision, that aims to start an investigation in the targeted area so that it may study the samples in a "transparent" manner.

The Russian Special Envoy to Syria, Alexander Lavrentev, paid a surprise visit to Tehran and held confidential talks with the Secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, among other officials. The discussions focused on the situation in Syria and on the American President Donald Trump's threats of military intervention in Syria.

During a session at the International Security Council, Russia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzya, denied the Syrian regime's responsibility for a chemical attack in Syria, saying firstly that a chemical attack did not occur, and that there was no evidence of any chemical substance being used in Douma, nor were there any cases of suffocation.
The Syrian government's Representative to the United Nations, Bashar Jaafari, confirmed the Russian statement, saying that a chemical attack did not occur. He also called upon the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to immediately enter Douma and gather samples for analysis, adding that they would not find evidence of any toxic substance having been used.

Moscow accused Western countries of fabricating what it called a "charade," adding that it has evidence that proves Western intelligence service’s responsibility in fabricating the attack. Moscow stated that it had earlier warned about the intention some countries had of committing a massacre to frame the Syrian regime. Moscow also reported that two doctors working in the city of Douma confirmed that the attack was fabricated and that there were no injuries or killed civilians.     
In a later meeting session, the Security Council failed to adopt any of the proposals presented regarding the massacre. The members voted on three topics, an American proposal that Russia vetoed, the latter justifying it on the premise of its aims to conserve international peace and security; and another Russian proposal that most members refused, with the United Kingdom's delegate stipulating that it doubted Russia's credibility and considered it unauthorized to further investigate any chemical attack in Syria.

International statements condemning the massacre and threats to put an end to the Syrian government

The United States’s President Donald Trump expressed his first reaction to the Syrian government forces chemical killing in the city of Douma, through a tweet saying that the “animal” Assad would pay a big price for using toxic gases against Syrians. The U.S Secretary Department called to sanction Assad and his allies for this massacre. 

Trump’s tweets were followed by international reactions condemning the massacre. Boris Johnson, the British Foreign Minister, called for an urgent investigation into the chemical attack, requesting the international community to respond to the perpetrators of the massacre. Jean Laudrean, the French foreign minister, called to hold an urgent session in the United Nations Security Council to discuss the attack.  Britain expected the meeting to be held on the next day.

On Apr.8,  2018, Bekir Bozdag, the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, accused the Syrian government of committing the chemical massacre, calling upon the international community to respond to the attack. Qatar called for an urgent international investigation into the shooting.

Consultant Thomas Bosurt, an official of the U.S. national security, stated that Washington was considering the launch of an attack against the Syrian government in this period. Lensi Graham, a Republican senator, said that Donald Trump would look weak before Russia and Iran if he did not commit to his statements. 
The next day, Trump’s tone of speech intensified towards the Syrian government, when during a meeting in the White House he stated that would make the decision over the responsibility for the chemical attack (whether it was the Syrian government, Russia, Iran or all of them together) and the American response to it, within 24 to 48 hours.

On Monday, Trump stated in a press conference that he would decide for the “ horrific attack” which took place in the Damascus suburbs. Trump added that the response to the attack would be healthy. Trump’s statements coincided with a session at the United Nations Security Council. Nikki Haley, the U.S envoy to the United Nations Security Council, stated in the session that Washington would respond regardless of the council’s position. 

The British Foreign Ministry reported that they would work alongside their allies to agree on a joint response when Britain was sure of the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons. Benjamin Jreavou, the spokesperson for the French Foreign Ministry, stated that Paris would intervene if it were proven that ”red lines” had been exceeded in Syria.
French President Emmanuel Macron and his U.S counterpart, Donald Trump, called for a “decisive response” to the chemical attack. Theresa May, the British Prime Minister contacted Donald Trump to condemn the “ abhorrent disregard for the lives of Syrians by Bashar al-Assad.”

U.S. statements reached their climax as Donald Trump warned Russia to get ready to receive U.S. rockets in Syria, saying that those rockets were on the way and they would be “ new, nice, and smart.” Trump’s statements followed a statement by Alexander Zasypkin, the Russian ambassador in Lebanon, saying that Russia would take down any U.S. rockets fired at Syria, and would target rocket firing locations.

In response to Trump’s tweets, Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, wrote on Facebook that the “Smart rockets” which Trump spoke of, would destroy any evidence of chemical weapons use in Douma. Zakharova added that the U.S. rockets should be aimed at “terrorists” and not the lawful government.”

With the growing international reaction to the massacre, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid bin Ra'ad al-Hussein criticized the member states of the United Nations Security Council for their “verbal condemnations” towards the chemical attack. Bin Ra’ad noted that the failure to conduct a proper investigation into the allegations of chemical weapons use encourages the use of these weapons again, and undermines the legitimacy of the lawful international order.

Bin Ra’ad added that the United Nations Security Council is crippled by the use of the veto, and while the use of chemical weapons has become an unexceptional feature in the Syrian war, the mass ignorance to its repeated use is very dangerous.” 

Bashar al-Assad criticized the Western airstrike, saying that it increased his determination to "crush" terrorism

President Donald Trump announced in a broadcasted speech at about 4 am on Saturday, Apr. 14 that an attack had been launched on the positions of the Syrian government. Less than half an hour later, the U.S. Defense Secretary James Matisse announced the end of the strikes, adding that there will be no further attacks, despite the extensive political and military preparations before the shooting.

The British newspaper The Times reported earlier that the most significant U.S. marine and air force since the Iraq war in 2003 began mobilizing towards Syria on Thursday night/Friday morning to strike against the Syrian government following the chemical massacre in the city of Douma, Eastern Damascus, on Saturday, Apr. 7, 2018.

On Thursday, the British Prime Minister Theresa May instructed the British fleet to prepare for military strikes against the Syrian government, while a British government source said they were ready to launch attacks from Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The U.S. and British mobilization came after Trump tweeted that the relations with Russia were now worse than ever, even worse than the period of tension during the Cold War. Trump also tweeted saying there was no reason for the tension between the two countries, calling on all nations to work together and stop the arms race.

According to Syrian government media, the strikes caused damage but no casualties among the Syrian government forces. Government media also reported that three civilians were wounded in the countryside of Homs, Central Syria, while the Russian Defense Ministry denied casualties among civilians and loyalist air forces.

The former Secretary-General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, said that the airstrikes on Syrian government military bases in Syria sent contradictory messages, revealing an ineffective response. Moussa said that the attack gave a yellow rather than red light to the Syrian government in response to the use of chemical weapons. Moussa compared the Western airstrikes with the chemical attacks and does not think the American “punishment” reached the efficiency of the Syrian government’s chemical attacks.

Bashar al-Assad confirmed during his first remarks on the American strike which he referred to as "Moses," that the attack only served to increase his determination to continue fighting and “destroy terrorism in all Syria." Al-Assad added that the strikes led by America came after the West realized that they had “lost control and credibility in the conflict.”

The leader of Jaysh al-Islam, Mohammed Alloush, said that Western airstrikes on Syrian government bases are useless as long as al-Assad remains in power. Alloush added that the Western countries “punish the tools used to commit the crime, and leave the offender free.”

The chemical attack on Douma was the most significant chemical attack since the Khan Sheikhoun massacre in Idlib on Apr. 4, 2017, when the Syrian government forces dropped barrels of sarin gas on the city of Khan Sheikhoun, suffocating 85 people, including 27 children and 19 women. More than 546 civilians were injured. The U.S. responded to the chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun by bombing the Syrian governmental-Shayrat military air base in Homs, Central Syria.

On Aug. 21, 2013, hundreds of civilians were killed and injured by a chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta. Local coordination committees in Syria reported that 1,360 civilians, including dozens of children and women, were killed and wounded. The symptoms of the injured indicated that sarin gas had been used.

الاخبار المتعلقة

تحرير عبيدة النبواني | ترجمة فرح ناصيف | تحرير الترجمة Freda Hocaine 🕔 تم النشر بتاريخ : 14 أبريل، 2018 3:53:18 م تقرير حي دوليعسكريسياسي الكيماوي
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