Syria is back in the news. The US shot down a Syrian government jet over the weekend, claiming that it was dropping bombs near Kurdish-led forces fighting ISIS.
That has provoked an angry reaction from Damascus and Moscow. They claim the jet was actively engaged in a bombing campaign against ISIS fighters. The Syrian government called the U.S.’ attack a “cynical violation of Syria’s sovereignty” and an “actual military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic.” Russia suspended a communication line with the U.S. and has vowed to treat all US-coalition aircraft as targets (which, I should point out, is not necessarily synonymous with vowing to shoot them down).
Forget my Saturday post about a Sino-American war. A war against the Russo-Syro-Iranian alliance seems even closer. I was worried about one after Trump’s airstrike back in early April, though the conflict thankfully didn’t escalate. Now with the U.S. shooting down a Syrian jet and Iran ramping up its involvement in the area, tensions are rising once again.
Both sides accuse the other side of hampering their efforts against ISIS. Who’s really telling the truth? It’s hard to say. All I know is that misunderstanding and poor judgment is a recipe for conflict. And given the remarkable complexity that is the Syrian Civil War, is it even possible to avoid misunderstanding?