New turn in Syrian war

THE United States, Britain and France launched punitive military strikes against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria in response to its latest alleged chemical weapons ‘atrocity’. Shortly after Trump began a White House address to announce the action, large explosions were heard in the Syrian capital Damascus, signalling a new chapter in a brutal seven-year-old civil war.
According to President Donald Trump he ordered his forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of the Syrian leader but ground reports speak of use of multiple types of bombs and a variety of targets. In the six days between the chemical attack and the US response, Washington and Moscow fought in media as well as at the UN where the latter vetoed a resolution that would have authorized an investigation to probe the chemical attack. Both Damascus and Moscow deny use of chemical weapons and instead allege that the United Kingdom carried out the said attack to put blame on Syrian regime and creating a justification for invasion. Now that three Western countries are bombing Syria, there are dangers of full blown military escalation as Russia and Iran are unlikely to abandon their ally in the lurch. That could mean prolongation of the Syrian conflict and continuation of miseries and problems of Syrian people who are already weary of unending civil war. The situation would become tenser if President Trump listened to the advice of his new National Security Advisor John Bolton who wants to conduct far larger military strikes than the more limited action counselled by Defence Secretary Jim Mattis. We hope the US Administration would listen to the rational appeal of the Amnesty International that has called for necessary precautions to minimize harm to civilians in any military action. People already living in fear of losing their lives in unlawful attacks must not be further punished for the alleged violations of the Syrian government. More importantly, the UN should intervene to help find a political and peaceful settlement of the six-year long conflict.

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