By Keerthana Chavaly
The “preparations” that the US witnessed recently are reminiscent of the sarin attack by Assad’s forces in April. The same chemical attack that had prompted President Trump to launch Tomahawk missiles at the Syrian airbase, where the assault had taken place. Pictures of the sarin attack left the world reeling with shock at the atrocities committed by the Syrian government. In response, President Trump had strongly condemned the act and authorised military action.
On Tuesday, 27th June, the US White House released a statement saying that they had observed preparations for another chemical attack by the Syrian government, led by President Bashar al-Assad. The statement was as follows, “The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children.”
Syria and Russia: Two peas in a pod
The White House warned that the US military would take action in the case of another chemical attack, much to the chagrin of Russia and Syria. The blunt response from the US government is a testament to the deteriorating relations between President Assad and Trump. Trump initially supported Assad’s rule in Syria but the attack in April caused him to change his stance.
The statement released by the White House has important and far-reaching consequences. Apart from displaying that the US is not averse to taking strict military action, the statement is also an evidence of deteriorating US-Syria relations and by extension, US-Russia relations. Russia is a strong backer of the Syrian government led by Assad and has shown very little tolerance for Assad’s critics. The White House statement elicited a response from the Russian government condemning the former. The Russian President’s Press Secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said, “Certainly, we consider such threats to the legitimate leadership of the Syrian Arab Republic unacceptable.” He also added, “I am not aware of any information about a threat that chemical weapons can be used”.
A never ending battle
This complete denial is a recurring response from both, Russia and Syria. Previously, when the details of the sarin attack in April became public, the two allies denied any knowledge of the chemical attack that allegedly killed 80 people, including children. Syria is not new to such attacks; in 2013, The New Yorker reported that Syria had engaged in a chemical attack that reportedly killed over 1,000 people.
The current situation in Syria is tumultuous at best. The reports of a preparation for another chemical attack in Syria is the latest in a long and bloody civil war that has seen innumerable human rights violations and multiple interferences by outside forces.
Featured Image Source: Pexels
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