New Escalation of Violence May Start in Syria Due to US Military Incursions
Monday, November 29, 2021
Lucas Leiroz, research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
A new escalation of violence may be starting in Syria. Washington recently sent new military convoys equipped with heavy weapons to the Arab country. Once again, the American government justifies its incursion with a speech of “fighting terrorism”, having Daesh as the supposed target of this new military mission. However, the effectiveness of US counter-terrorism measures in Syria has been severely criticized in recent years, as no decrease in terrorist activities in the country has been reported in any of the Washington’s incursions. Apparently, the US is simply planning to take one more step in its global military expansionism, without any concern for the real situation of terrorism in Syria.
The American Armed Forces sent to Syria more than a hundred new armed vehicles, divided into two large convoys. The information was first reproduced by the SANA news agency, which cited as source a series of reports from agents stationed in the al-Yaroubiya region, in northeastern Syria. There has still been no official statement on the new deployment of troops and vehicles by the US, but the information is expected to be true, considering that a new offensive against terrorism in Syria was already being planned in advance.
The convoys contain more than a hundred military trucks carrying containers whose cargo might be tactical, operational and logistical material, in addition to heavy weapons and other supplies. Several troops accompany the convoys, in addition to other war vehicles that are being used to ensure transport security, resulting in a considerable military incursion. Previously, these vehicles have been in Iraqi territory, having moved due to simultaneous US interest in decreasing its presence in Iraq and increasing pressure on Syrian soil.
Technically speaking, by sending a military convoy equipped with various tactical tools, the US is simply indicating that it is preparing a new military offensive in the short term. The material transported by the reported convoy has an infrastructural function, which allows the subsequent presence of new combatants in order to carry out military operations. In other words, Washington sent this material because it plans to perform attacks in Syria, which is certainly extremely worrying.
In fact, it is well known that the US is planning a new series of incursions against terrorism in Syria. On November 25, US coalition spokesmen announced that an attack had been carried out against a US troop base in Kharab al Jir. According to what was reported by officials, the attack was implemented through five consecutive bombing raids, but the offensive missed its target and the unit remained intact, with no reported casualties. Earlier in October, a similar situation had been reported, with an alleged casualty-free military drone attack against the American base in al-Tanf. At the time, some US officials and media agencies accused Iran of carrying out the operation, which was never proven. It is due to events like these that the US government has been planning to tighten up its security policy in Syria and improve the military potential of its troops, but it is unlikely that alleged terrorist attacks that left no victims explain such a large movement of forces as the sending of these convoys.
It is curious how the speech against Daesh is used in these cases. For years, the American coalition operated in Syria without generating any damage against Daesh’s bases, which were truly neutralized just after the Russian intervention in the Syrian civil war. Currently, despite continuing to exist, Daesh has an extremely limited power, and the Syrian government has already resumed control of most of the territories previously captured by the terrorists. In this context, what would be the point of having a new American offensive against Daesh, precisely when the group is more fragile?
In fact, the anti-Daesh narrative is the weakest possible to justify a new US offensive, which is easier to understand given the context of the current US foreign policy. Washington has lost a very important zone of action in Central Asia and is heading towards the same end in Iraq. In response, the US government is focused on securing its already consolidated occupied territories abroad and preventing the loss of further zones of influence. The American coalition in Syria maintains extremely strategic territories under control (mainly oil exploration zones) and, for this reason, the military presence in the region is expected to be strengthened in order to avoid the loss of this important space. “Fighting Daesh” is just a mask to disguise the real interest in maintaining a continuous occupation policy in a large part of the Syrian territory.
It is possible that the American presence will generate frictions with the Syrian government’s forces, considering that the coalition led by Washington is illegal, having been requested neither by Damascus nor by the UN. The result will be a growth in violence. In fact, the US should be punished with sanctions and boycotts for unnecessarily promoting conflicts in the midst of the Syrian civil war, just at its most stable moment in more than a decade.
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