Syria has blamed U.S.-led airstrikes of killing its soldiers in the process. Syrian President Bashar Assad also claimed Britain’s airstrikes are “illegal,” and unless they are conducted in cooperation with his ground-based forces, they are doomed to fail.
The U.S.-led coalition fighting the extremist group ISIS is being held liable for killing three Syrian soldiers and wounding about 13. The Syrian government has sent an official protest letter to the United Nations over the alleged incident, reported the Wall Street Journal. Apart from the casualties, Syria claims the attack destroyed armored vehicles and other automobiles, as well as a weapons and ammunition depot.
In the strongly worded letter, Syria said, “This hampers efforts to combat terrorism and proves once again that this coalition lacks seriousness and credibility to effectively fight terrorism,”
The coalition has strongly refuted the allegations and claimed it did not carry out any deadly airstrikes against a Syrian government military base.
Col. Steve Warren, a spokesperson for the U.S.-led coalition, said, “The closest target we struck that day was a target 55 km [34 miles] away.”
The Combined Joint Task Force added, “We take all allegations of potential collateral damage seriously and will look into every allegation we receive.”
The American-led forces are indicating it was “highly likely” that Russia carried out the alleged airstrike on a Syrian military base that resulted in the casualties and injuries. Russian Air Force had, in fact, released a video last week showing purported strikes on oil fields in eastern Syria, reported Fox News. Incidentally, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists on the ground for independently corroborated news, also reported the incident.
Although it is yet to be established whose forces might have attacked the Syrian base, from a technical perspective, it is easier to point the finger at Russia because of the munitions it has been using in Syria. The country has increasingly dropped bombs that do not have in-flight guidance systems, which makes them highly unreliable. It is entirely up to the judgment of the navigator of the Russian fighter plane to release the bombs that fall out of the sky and then explode upon impact.
Needless to say, these “dumb bombs” are far less accurate as compared to the laser-guided bombs used by the U.S. led coalition. These smart bombs, which have their own propulsion system, continuously tweak their trajectories to hit the target with pinpoint accuracy.
There appears to be a blame-game because Russia hasn’t joined the U.S.-led coalition, which calls the operation in Syria the “crusader campaign.” Instead, Russia conducts its own airstrikes and doesn’t share targeting data with any other country. The country started bombarding the region in September, but it has strong ties with the current Syrian President.
While Syria was blaming American airstrikes, President Bashar Assad blasted U.K.’s airstrikes as well, reported USA Today. In an interview with Britain’s Sunday Times, Assad explained why Britain’s airstrikes in Syria would fail.
“It has to be from the air, from the ground, to have co-operation with troops on the ground — the national troops — for the interference to be legal. So I would say they don’t have the will and don’t have the vision on how to defeat terrorism.
“It will be harmful and illegal and it will support terrorism, as happened after the coalition started its operation a year or so [ago] because this is like a cancer. You cannot cut out part of the cancer. You have to extract it. This kind of operation is like cutting out part of the cancer. That will make it spread in the body faster.”
Assad also blamed Britain for being an “incubator” in which ISIS’ sleeper cells thrived. It is no secret that over 5,000 Europeans have traveled to Syria to join ISIS.
With many countries launching airstrikes and Russia conducting an independent war against the same enemy, will there be accountability for such collateral damage?
[Photo by Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images]