The humanitarian operation in Aleppo launched upon the order of Russian President Vladimir Putin to open three escape routes for civilians and one for militants wishing to lay down arms, evokes stiff opposition. The United States has called on Russia and the Syrian government to refrain from offensive operations in Syria at the time the cessation of hostilities is broken by the groups that has been enjoying US support. President Barack Obama on August 4 cast doubt on whether the United States «could trust» Russia as a partner to end the Syrian civil war. «I’m not confident that we can trust the Russians and Vladimir Putin, which is why we have to test whether or not we can get an actual cessation of hostilities», Obama told reporters at the Pentagon after meeting with members of his National Security Council to discuss the fight against Islamic State.
Indeed, the fierce fighting has recently intensified in Aleppo. One thing is clear – the breach of cessation of hostilities has been initiated by radical opposition groups as they try to break the government siege of rebel-held areas after the army cut them off last month.
The humanitarian corridors and aid centers have been set up to minimize civilian casualties and save the city residents lives. For comparison, the situation is quite different in Manbij, where US-supported forces advance to push Islamic State militants away before the planned Raqqa offensive. More and more civilians become victims as US aircraft deliver indiscriminate air strikes.
Manbij civilians call for international aid to the displaced civilians who fled war-torn areas of the city. «We appeal to the UN and humanitarian organizations around the world to send us more help. Until now we have not received anything», said Faruk al-Mashi, the co-head of the newly established Manbij city council.
Washington had to launch a formal inquiry to investigate claims by human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, and the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, that American airstrikes have killed civilians.
There is a relevant aspect of the situation that is undeservedly paid little attention to by Western mass media. The US has significant military presence on the territory of Syria in violation of international law. It never asked neither the Syrian government nor the United Nations for permission.
The US military has set up air bases in the oil town of Rmeilan in al-Hasakah province and southeast of Kobani, straddling the Turkish border – all in the Syrian Kurdistan.
The US based Stratfor intelligence company obtained satellite images to confirm the fact.
The media briefly mentioned the existence of a US secret military facility «Al-Tanf» in the south-east of the country.
It brings the total number US military bases in Syria to three – all clandestinely built without the permission of the country’s government. Operating military facilities in Syria is a game changing decision that presupposes boots on the ground. Clearly, there is an evident contradiction between the deployment of US military forces in Syria and the promises made by President Barack Obama not to deploy American ground troops to the country.
The US administration appears to be trying to achieve a quick victory and boost the Democratic candidate’s chances in the presidential race. The risk is great as it may have the opposite effect of the expected outcome, especially, if the military infrastructure is built to support a unilateral action without due coordination with other actors and in defiance of previous agreements and in violation of international law as the US-led coalition has neither an agreement with the Syrian government, nor a resolution of the UN Security Council.
Now about possible scenarios. If Aleppo is liberated – the next step for the Syrian government forces would be to establish control over the entire national territory that would inevitably make it clash with the American military already operating on the ground. It makes it clear why the success of Russia-supported Syrian forces in Aleppo contradicts US interests. That’s what makes the United States insist on terminating the humanitarian operation launched to save civilians remaining in the city.
It’s not known who is responsible for grounding the Russian helicopter in Idlib province on August 1 or what exactly weapon was used.
But it makes remember that a Syrian Air Force Mi-25 helicopter with two Russian pilots on board was hit on July 8 by American TOW antitank missile system – a very disturbing fact.
This is another useful reminder of the double standard, hypocrisy of United States and countries aligned with Washington with regard to Syria. America operates military bases on foreign territory clearly taking sides in the conflict while calling for resumption of UN-sponsored Geneva peace talks and pretending to be an impartial actor. It is calling on Russia to leave civilians in Aleppo to their fate, while mercilessly killing innocent people in Manbij. The US believes its superpower status allows it to do and say whatever it wants, for instance shift the blame on others while being involved in wrongdoing. As Noam Chomsky, American «father of modern linguistics», put it, «For the powerful, crimes are those that others commit».