At least one hundred pro-Syrian government forces have been killed in a strike conducted by the US-led coalition in Syria. This isn’t the first time an attack on pro-Damascus forces has been carried out by the coalition. Sputnik discussed this with Dr. Kamel Wazne, the founder of the Center for American Strategic Studies in Beirut.
Sputnik: The airstrikes carried out by the US coalition in Syria are not authorized by government of President Bashar al-Assad or the UN Security Council and have caused many experts to say that the US is violating Syria’s sovereignty, what is your take on that?
Dr. Kamel Wazne: I think this airstrike can’t change the calculation of the confrontation and I think it’s going to put the United States in a different position. I think the United States, by entering the war against the Syrian people directly — before it was supposed to be the war against Daesh, today it’s really against the sovereignty of Syria, I think this is going to be dealt with differently. Syria stated all along that the American presence on Syrian land is an occupation. Probably, the airstrike is going to put the whole calculus in a different atmosphere, and I think the US has to be very careful, partly due to the huge mistake, because this airstrike was not authorized by the United Nations.
Syria is still a sovereign country and their presence and their airstrike is a total violation of Syrian sovereignty, and I think this will carry repercussions and reprisals from Syria and from the coalition. I think the United States miscalculated this time, and I think a price will be paid and the response in my estimate will not be long.
Sputnik: The UN has not yet addressed this, do you expect them to address this issue?
Dr. Kamel Wazne: The UN has been for a very long time hijacked by the United States, it seems that this United Nations and Security Council only serves the interests of the Trump administration. I think the American ambassador, Nikki Haley, basically has a different interpretation of international law, it only works just to suit the United States’ interests. This has actually put the whole international world peace and order in jeopardy. Unless the US changes its direction in directing peace around the world, I think the world is at a point where we’re going to have a lot of confrontation, the language of sanctions, threats and using the United Nations to just declare that can use nuclear weapons against countries like North Korea, its something that has to stop.
Sputnik: Do you have any insight as to what the reaction was in Syria not just by the authorities but by the people and the media?
Dr. Kamel Wazne: Well at this point information hasn’t come through, but what is known is that there’s 100 martyrs on the ground. We have to see who are these martyrs and to what faction they belong. In the end I think this will not sit very well with the government of Syria and its coalition, and it’s not sitting well with the backer of Syria in the war against Daesh. In the end the international community was supposed to fight Daesh not the Syrian government.
Sputnik: Obviously this has been already condemned by Ankara and Moscow, they are planning to strengthen their cooperation in Syria, what are the consequences this move will have on the current situation in Syria and how do you see Ankara and Moscow reacting to it?
Dr. Kamel Wazne: I think the Russians have been very clear, their input has been very clear from the start, they wanted to fight Daesh, they wanted to eliminate these terrorist organizations. Turkey has a different interest; they want to preserve a certain part of their boarders, especially with the Kurds. They meet at some point, but there’s a big difference between the Turkish position and the Russian position and it’s also in the best interest of Turkey to withdraw from Syria because Syria is a sovereign state.
Sputnik: The US is also thinking about creating this 30,000-strong border force that would include the Kurdish dominated SDF alliance to secure, control territory within Syria. Obviously Turkey is not happy with this, how is this going to play out on the background of these recent strikes?
Dr. Kamel Wazne: The presence of the Americans and the presence of forces that represent the Americans is illegitimate. They have no legal authorization to be there or to establish a force there. I think the position of the Americans is that they wanted to put their forces on the ground, they wanted to divide Syria. They wanted a piece of pie in the Middle East, they don’t want stability for Syria and for the Syrian people. And the fact that they’re working behind the government and actually before have been helping other entities and now they’re helping some other entity under a different name, that does not serve the request for peace and unity within the Syrian people. Their position, their presence is a violation of the international law and this basically has to be understood by everybody in the conflict in Syria.
Sputnik: Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that Washington has taken the course of dividing Syria. Can you talk about the prospects for the division of Syria, do you think it’s realistic, do you think it’s going to happen and who other than the US is in support of that?
Dr. Kamel Wazne: That’s exactly what the aim of the United States is, to divide Syria, and clearly the US wanted to have their portion of the pie. This will not be accepted by the Syrian people, this will not be accepted by the Russians, and won’t be accepted by the Turks and other allies of Syria. I think Syria will continue to resent and to resist and to hide the American equation, new equation and will not tolerate any division of the country. The Americans have a different agenda, they’re playing with fire, they have to be careful, because this will be counterproductive and will backfire. In the end I think the Syrian regime wanted to liberate all the land, regardless of who the occupier is, the Americans have no place to be in Syria without authorization.