Both Russian and American forces have increased their air attacks on ISIS over the last few days, but this has only led to fears from military experts that we are growing closer and closer to an explosive scenario that could lead to World War 3.
Coalition forces, which are being led by the U.S., have confirmed that they have conducted 24 bombings on ISIS in Syria over the course of just 24 hours. Meanwhile, Russia have insisted that they’ve hit 55 of their targets in their own separate attacks.
Fears have been growing over the potential international tension in Syria because there have been claims that Russian forces have also been targeting rebel groups that aren’t actually associated with ISIS. Some of these have included fighters that have been trained by the United States.
Meanwhile it’s also been reported by The Mirror that Vladimir Putin has taunted the West for not getting “results,” especially in comparison to Russia’s alleged attacks.
However, the increasing activity in Syrian airspace is what is mostly worrying military experts. They’re concerned that there could easily be a collision between either nation’s warplanes, helicopters, drones, or missiles, which then could provoke a response from the other side.
There have even been reports that various U.S. planes that have been flying over Syria have either had to abandon targets, or they’ve moved drastically away from Russian jets that they’ve come in close proximity to. Lt Gen Charles Brown, who is the commander of the American air campaign in Syria, has even admitted that U.S. and Russian planes were within just 20 miles of each other at one point, which means that because of the speeds that these aircraft travel at, they were just 30 seconds away from a collision.
Currently, a Coalition and Pro-Assad forces have attacked Syria to try and dismiss ISIS from the area.
The Coalition contingent is made up of United States, United Kingdom, French, Australian, Saudi Arabian, Qatari, Belgian, Canadian, Jordanian, Dutch, Danish, and Turkish nations. These are helping to conduct airstrikes in Syria, and want Bashar al-Assad and ISIS removed from the region, so that a new government can be put in place.
Meanwhile, the Pro-Assad team consists of Russian, Syrian, Iran, Chinese, Lebanese, and Iraqi armies.
Because of these warring factions, Syria has become a hot-bed of chaos, and there have been continued air attacks across different sections of the country.
Speaking to The Mirror, one military expert explained, “Rationalising such a complex airspace is not possible – like getting your mind round a Rubik’s Cube that moves around at Mach 1.5, then adding a dozen more.”
They continued, “Given the amount of military traffic in the air there is a real worry a plane will be shot down in catastrophic misunderstanding of intent. It means we could be seconds from a sudden escalation taking us to the very brink of war.”
Andrew Foxall, who works at the Henry Jackson Society think tank as an expert on Russia, believes that such a crash could result in a “diplomatic incident of catastrophic proportions.”
Foxall also admitted that the fact Russia has a completely “different objective to the Natio coalition and the western drive for liberal democracy and regime change in Syria” is of grave concern, and could even provoke a full-scale conflict on a global scale. Russia’s aim is to maintain “a pro-Russian regime in Syria,” while the fact that China have joined them has only confused matters even more.
There are worries that Chinese forces with the Pro-Assad coalition could try and attack other Syrian rebels that aren’t actually associated with ISIS. Plus, Iran is now allowing Russian forces to fly through their airspace, and there’s a concern that these two strong nations have joined together to fight in the Middle East.
The conflicting factions in this area have ever been compared to the circumstances in the build up to the First World War, when the Allies (England, France, Russia) and Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary) were forced to go to War after the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, having each signed documents that they would support the other.