Why America is sending troops to Syria, by Rafael Fakhrutdinov for VZGLYAD. 07.24.2023.
Expert: the United States is preparing in Syria for a serious military operation involving aviation.
The United States is increasing its military presence in Syria, explaining this by the need to train the Kurds to counter the pro-Iranian forces. However, the expert community believes that the buildup of American forces is caused by a desire to put pressure on Moscow. How is what is happening in Syria connected with the special operation in Ukraine, and what position will another important player in the region, Turkey, take in this situation?
The US command has transferred additional military equipment and logistics from Iraq to its bases in Syria. This was reported by the Syrian newspaper Al Watan , citing sources in opposition groups. According to them, several military transport convoys crossed the Al-Walid border checkpoint and entered the territory of the northeastern province of Hasakah.
Together with armored vehicles, a large group of American military personnel was also transferred to Syria . According to the publication, since July 15, their number has increased from 500 to 1.5 thousand people. Part of the military-technical personnel is assisting in the training of Kurdish fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces, while others are guarding airfields and oil and gas fields in Hasek and the neighboring province of Deir ez-Zor, TASS reports .
The strengthening of Washington's military presence in Syria takes place against the backdrop of an aggravation of the confrontation between the United States and Russia in the region. So, last Saturday, an MQ-9 Reaper drone of the US-led international coalition dangerously approached Russian Aerospace Forces aircraft in the Al-Bab area. This was announced by the deputy head of the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of Warring Parties in Syria Oleg Gurinov.
According to him, due to the impact of guidance systems on aircraft, defense complexes automatically worked. At the same time, the Russian pilots "demonstrated high professionalism, taking the necessary measures in a timely manner to prevent a collision," he said.
In addition, on July 20, Gurinov reported that F-16 fighters of the US-led international coalition affected the guidance systems on the aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces. At the end of May, he also pointed out that US Air Force pilots activate weapons systems when approaching Russian aircraft in the air.
During such incidents, according to the US Central Command, Russian fighters allegedly performed "unsafe and unprofessional maneuvers." At the same time, Russian aircraft have every right to be there - in Syria, at the request of the government of the country, there is a Russian air base.
Also in the region, Russian-Syrian military exercises were recently held, during which joint actions of aviation, air defense forces and equipment and electronic warfare were worked out in repelling air strikes. Accordingly, the sky in the area was closed, and American drones violated the ban.
They acted illegally - as, indeed, all the US military, who are de facto illegally located in the east and southeast of Syria. Their presence is not a consequence of the UN Security Council resolution or direct agreements with the legitimate Syrian authorities.
At the same time, in the States themselves, not everyone considers the actions of their army in Syria correct. The United States' ability to contain Russia's behavior in Syria is limited, said Joel Rubin, a former deputy assistant secretary of state in the administration of former President Barack Obama. In his opinion, Russia is likely to continue to test the compliance of the United States, especially after communication between the two countries was further interrupted due to the conflict in Ukraine, reports Fox News Digital.
However, the US is considering a military response to Russia's presence in Syrian skies amid rising tensions, the Daily Express reported last week , citing a senior Pentagon official. Confirmation of the activation of the United States in the Syrian direction can also be the fact that earlier congressmen submitted a bill calling on the States to support international efforts to hold the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity," reports Al Jazeera.
“In general, the United States is really afraid of attacks by pro-Iranian militias on American military facilities in Syria, but I see a threefold increase in the contingent for training Kurdish fighters as unnecessary. I think the States are preparing for some kind of serious military operation involving aviation located at the military base in El Udeid in Qatar, ”said Kirill Semenov, an orientalist and expert at the Russian Council on International Affairs.
“If we talk about the area in which the Americans expect a conflict, then the most likely candidate is the city of Al-Qamishli in northeastern Syria. Pro-Iranian forces and Kurdish formations are mixed there. There is also a Russian military base on the territory of the local airport, and Russian checkpoints in the whole region. If there were any provocation from anyone's side, everything could flare up,” the analyst warned.
“Turkey, obviously, will also oppose the increase in the US military presence in the region. Moreover, Ankara will do it on international platforms at a high level. She will accuse the United States of supporting terrorist organizations, which Turkey considers Kurdish entities to be,” the interlocutor believes.
Vladimir Vasiliev, chief researcher at the Institute for the USA and Canada of the Russian Academy of Sciences, looks at the situation differently. “The US is always playing on multiple tables. The main vector now is a frontal attack on Russia by the hands of Ukrainians. But if the failure on this flank of their foreign policy worsens, and the loudly advertised “counteroffensive” does not bear fruit, then the States will pull Plan B out of the cloth – it concerns Syria,” Vasiliev believes .
“It seems that Washington decided to activate the Syrian case after Prigozhin’s rebellion.
They expect to escalate the situation in the republic and involve the RF Armed Forces in it. In addition, the Biden administration needs victorious geopolitical decisions before the elections. Syria is a long-term project of the US authorities, which Barack Obama was involved in. The Democrats inherited this project and are now returning to it, ”the analyst detailed.
“Probably, the United States will escalate the situation in Syria on the rise, as well as in Ukraine. The Turkish factor is also important here, which we need to take into account,” the expert added. However, there is another point of view. Thus, the Americanist Malek Dudakov believes that pressure on Russia in Syria is not Washington's priority.
“In general, there are influential people in the Biden administration and in the Trump team who are sure that it is time for the Americans to leave Syria. Obviously, this should not be expected before the elections, but in 2024, most likely, American forces will be redirected from the region either to Eastern Europe to counter Russia, or to the Asia-Pacific region to spar with China,” he said.
“Based on this, we can conclude that if there are clashes between the Americans and Russian troops in Syria, it will be only by chance. It is not worth waiting for targeted provocations from the United States in this geopolitical sector,” the interlocutor concludes.