Following Saturday’s airstrikes on targets in Syria by the US, the UK and France, the White House said late on Sunday that the US strategy in Syria had not changed and that it wants US troops home “as soon as possible,” according to Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
The comments came just hours after French President Emmanuel Macron — who has been vocal in pushing for constructive relations between western Europe and Trump — said in a major interview on French television that he had convinced his US counterpart to stay in Syria “longterm.”
Last Sunday, President Trump tweeted, “Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay.” Actually, there wasn’t. The western airstrikes on Syria were carefully circumscribed, avoided Russian assets and troops, and did little, if anything, to disturb Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. The strikes, which were apparently supposed to persuade Assad to focus on killing the opposition to him with conventional weapons, did not display western strength but caution.
American, British and French forces launched airstrikes on two chemical weapons facilities and a military command post in Syria on Friday night in retaliation for a chemical attack that left up 75 civilians dead last week.
Donald Trump addressed the U.S. while British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron both gave speeches justifying the use of force.
Allies hit three facilities to degrade Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities
‘CRIMES OF A MONSTER:’ Trump Strikes Assad For Chemical Weapons Attack
Pentagon says Syria strikes are ‘one time shot’ to send strong message to Assad
Syria ‘chemical attack’ staged to provoke US airstrike, London pushed perpetrators – Russian MoD
The Russian Defense Ministry has presented what it says is proof that the reported chemical weapons attack in Syria was staged. It also accused the British government of pressuring the perpetrators to speed up the “provocation.”
During a briefing on Friday, the ministry showed interviews with two people, who, it said, are medical professionals working in the only hospital operating in Douma, a town near the Syrian capital, Damascus.
President Trump warned Russia Wednesday that missiles are heading to Syria after the country vowed to shoot them all down.
“Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’ You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!” Mr. Trump tweeted.
His tweet was in response to the Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin who said late Tuesday that any U.S. missiles in Syria will be shot down, but added that negotiations were still an option.
WASHINGTON — The Russian military has been jamming some U.S. military drones operating in the skies over Syria, seriously affecting American military operations, according to four U.S. officials.
The Russians began jamming some smaller U.S. drones several weeks ago, the officials said, after a series of suspected chemical weapons attacks on civilians in rebel-held eastern Ghouta. The Russian military was concerned the U.S. military would retaliate for the attacks and began jamming the GPS systems of drones operating in the area, the officials explained.
WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump froze more than $200 million in funds for recovery efforts in Syria as his administration reassesses Washington’s broader role in the protracted conflict there.
The White House ordered the State Department to put the spending on hold, U.S. officials said, a decision in line with Mr. Trump’s declaration on Thursday that America would exit Syria and “let the other people take care of it now.”
The Russian mercenaries fighting in Syria say they are not in the country for the money or to help Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“[Syrians] can’t stand Assad,” one Russian mercenary commander told RFE/RL. “Really. Only a tiny percentage of the population there supports him and the rest oppose him. Only [Russian President Vladimir] Putin supports him. Russia supports him — no one else.”
There is a bigger motivation, the mercenary claimed. “If you are fighting under a Russian flag, with a Russian weapon, even if you are eating moldy food and are 10,000 kilometers from home, you are nonetheless fighting for Russia,” he said.
You probably didn’t hear this because few media organizations have even mentioned it, but Russia committed an act of war against the United States a little more than a week ago. No, this is not about more social media and election shenanigans. Russia mounted an armed assault against American soldiers and our allies in Syria, including Kurdish security forces affiliated with the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, at a military base in the city of Deir Ezzor, the largest in eastern Syria. Russian combatants fought alongside Assad regime fighters and Shia militias armed, funded and directed by Iran.
Two of Russia’s T-50s prototype stealth fighters landed at Khmeimim air base this week, potentially intensifying the risk to U.S. and allied warplanes over the war-ravaged country.
The Russian air force has reportedly deployed two prototype stealth fighters to Syria. The deployment comes just two weeks after U.S. and allied warplanes bombarded pro-regime forces, killing potentially scores of apparent Russian mercenaries.
The radar-evading T-50s could complicate the U.S.-led air campaign in the region, said Gen. James Holmes, head of the U.S. Air Force’s Air Combat Command. The United States deployed its own stealth fighters over Syria starting in September 2014.
It is unclear how many mercenaries from the Russian paramilitary organization, Wagner Group, were killed on February 7 in Deir al-Zour, Syria, in an attack led by the international anti-IS coalition. According to the Russian newspaper Vedomosti, 50 mercenaries were killed and around 70 injured. The names of at least nine of the dead are known. The Russian Foreign Office initially confirmed there had been five deaths. Later, a statement said that “several dozen” from Russia and CIS states — a group of former Soviet states — had been wounded and killed. They were allegedly in Syria “voluntarily and with different intentions.” The anti-IS coalition claimed that it had attacked President Bashar al-Assad’s troops in self-defense.