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The air strikes are intended to scale back non-Western influence in Syria

12 3 32
16.04.2018

The Russians finished securing Damascus against any threat after the Assad regime removed the last armed faction from Ghouta on 13 April. However, Moscow still wanted to send a message to the US saying that the chemical weapons agreement signed in 2013 is no longer valid, and allowed the regime to use chemical weapons in Duma a few days earlier.

This message also means that Russia is in control of Syria’s fate and that the US must leave Syria for good. Of course, this would not have been ignored, as it would be considered a declaration of Russia’s victory in Syria and perhaps a Russian response to all of the American and Western policies regarding the intensification of sanctions on Russia and the recent expulsion of diplomats. As such, the West must take a direct position on it, as all of its discussions in the UN Security Council have not deterred Russia. Moscow has lied repeatedly in denying the chemical attack in Duma, and even went as far as accusing Britain of fabricating it. Russia, therefore, left the US and Britain no other choice but to bomb Syria.

The air strikes launched on 14 April were targeted specifically at facilities and bases related to chemical weapons. At the same time, America sent a clear message that Russia does not have the right to control Syria’s fate and that the goal of these strikes is to end this monopoly. Washington also sent a message that resolving conflicts between the countries involved in the Syrian war should not take place in Astana or Sochi, but in Geneva.

US President Donald Trump’s speech announcing the attack told Russia and Iran that the strikes will not be directed at their bases in Syria and so there were things that they needed to do in order to protect their interests in the country. This indicated the need for Iran to scale back its presence in Syria and the need for Russia to refrain from imagining itself controlling Syria........

© Middle East Monitor