What is the Ultimate Price of the US “Earnest Mistake” in Syria?

The US-Russia ceasefire agreement in Syria seemed near collapse late Saturday, when the US airstrike killed dozens of Syrian soldiers “by mistake”. According to the US Defense officials the strike “appears to be an intelligence failure.”

As it’s been noted by the American Conservative, if we are to assume that this was done by mistake, it is a damaging and embarrassing error. It is even more embarrassing because the strike hit Syrian forces that were fighting ISIS. Because the error effectively benefited ISIS, the strike has provided Syria and Russia with a ready-made story to use as part of their propaganda that ISIS is either backed or created by the US Coming on the heels of the ceasefire agreement with Moscow, the timing of this incident could not have been worse.

European, and American media sources have been pretty active in commenting the jeopardized truce agreement in Syria and the unlawful bombardment of the Syrian troops that US authorities are trying to explain as “target confusion case.”

Imeediately after this cunning airstirke, Syrian officials announced the end of a seven-day “ceasefire”, without providing any information about its possible extension, Reuters reported. The army accused the terrorist groups that they have not fulfilled a single paragraph of the agreement reached during the negotiations held by the US State Department and Russia’s Ministy of Foreign Affairs, but instead took advantage of them.

According to the Swiss Le Temps, Washington has suffered a major loss of credibility, and its attempts to apologize and put forward contradictory versions of the incident are not helping either . If it was a mistake, it would mean that the US Air Force atemppted to assist Syrian armed forces in Deir ez-Zor planned, the forces controlled by Bashar al-Assad, that the United States demanded to step down time and time again. The Swiss newspaper seems unable to come to grips with this fact, demaning how could this be possible. The United States got themselves trapped in Syria, with its credibility undermined and its officials taking a defensive stance in subsequent negotiations, the media source notes.

The Turkish Milli Gazete is noting that the Syria conflict has recently become a puzzling matter. Nobody can say who is fight for which side and for what reason. Stray bullets are now being replaced by “accidental bombings” that are being explained by silly pretextes. The US forces have been known for such airstirkes in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and here we are in Syria now. In fact, the United States and did not deny it. ” With Turkey entering the Syrian conflict, the balance of powers in the conflict has changed, and now the struggle for the control of the triangle “Aleppo – Raqqah – Mosul” is getting dangerous. The newspaper notes that the side that would find itself in control of this triangle, will be able to implenet centuries-old projects of domination. Therefore, should the parties fail to reach an agreement at the negotiation table, then the Third World War, which is now being waged covertly, will be officially announced.

The Swedish Aftonbladet emphasizes the fact that one would be unnable to find matching descriptions of the bombardment in different US sources.

For example, The New York Times that is wiledly believed to be the most credible source of information in the West would note:

The United States acknowledged on Saturday that its warplanes had carried out an airstrike inSyria that resulted in the deaths of Syrian government troops. American military officials said the pilots in the attack, in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, believed they were targeting the Islamic State. 

A senior Obama administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the strike was still being investigated, said the United States had relayed its regrets to the Syrian government through the Russians for the “unintentional loss of life of Syrian forces” fighting the Islamic State. 

The Syrian news agency SANA describes the airstrikes as the act of “direct aggression”, stressing that this was a “war crime.”

The Israeli Haaretz underlines the fact that there is no reason not to question the statements made by Russia’s official sources, especially when one is to consider the fact that the United States still refuses to release any details about the nature of the cease-fire agreement. If the agreement reached impied there must be a division of the opposition forces in the Aleppo area, which has become the point of discord between the warring parties, then certain opposition forces were supposed to leave the areas they control, or even divide the control over these areas with the group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham. Until now, Washington has been refusing to comply with the requirement to separate the opposition forces. It is possible that the refusal to make release the details of the agreements is governed by the concerns that the opposition forces may turn their back on Washington when they learn that the US agreed to separate moderate groups from radical ones, thereby the implementation of the agreement would be derailed. For Russia, the bombing was a sort of a proof that the United States is unable to coordinate its actions with the opposition, therefore the agreent has to chance to succeed.

Against the background of Washington’s willingness to pay compensations for the relatives of those it unlawfully murdered, would it be too much of a strech to demand the compensation for the deaths and grave inflicted by the US Air Force to hundreds of Syrian soldiers?

Jean Périer is an independent researcher and analyst and a renowned expert on the Near and Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”   

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