Officials from the White House and the United States Central Command offered their apologies to both Russia and Syria on Saturday after a U.S. airstrike mistakenly struck more than sixty Syrian soldiers in the Deir al-Zour area of Syria. U.S. military officials had been tracking the movement of suspected fighters in the area and pre-coordinated the strike with Russia, although the specific target was not identified.
The blunder comes days after the commencement of a ceasefire between the U.S. and Russia with regards to airstrikes in Syria, a deal that has been marred with skepticism since its inception. Russia immediately came to the defense of their ally in the region, claiming that the U.S. was maneuvering around the deal and had not taken it seriously.
…the calls by Russia for an emergency United Nations meeting are as absurd as our willingness to enter such a fruitless deal.
I will tell you that the skeptics of the deal have every right to be. Beyond the fact that the U.S. and Russia are bitter enemies, caught up in a quiet sequel to the Cold War, tensions have been escalating in the region, making such a deal untenable. Sure, it sounds good for the diplomats, and will present well in the media, but folks on the ground – on both sides – know that the deal will never hold.
During the past year Russia has, on multiple occasions, lobbed cruise missiles through Iraqi airspace, which for all intent and purposes is U.S. airspace, thus halting American air operations against ISIS, as well as critical logistics movements in the region. The moves came with little or no warning to the U.S. government, not only slowing our efforts, but placing American servicemen in grave danger. Russia’s provocations have not ended with cruise missiles though, as several inappropriate close encounters have occurred near U.S. Navy sea vessels and in recent months they bombed a clandestine site within Syria, knowing full well that it was run by the Americans.
While the death of Syrian soldiers was certainly not the intent of the U.S. military and is unfortunate for those affected, the calls by Russia for a emergency United Nations meeting are as absurd as our willingness to enter such a fruitless deal.
By a Senior OpsLens Contributor and counterterrorism expert