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US Threatens Military Intervention as Western Coalition Fails in Syria

That is to say - a wider intervention than the one that's already ongoing - but for now it's just words

This post first appeared on Russia Insider


U.S. Pentagon is dissatisfied with the level of support from Western allies. Now the U.S. government is threatening with a military solution in Syria. The first step is to establish of a new air force base in northern Syria – a clear breach of international law because this step was taken without any approval from the legitimate Syrian government.  

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter claims more support coming from the members of the international coalition against the jihadi militia Islamic state (IS). Last Friday, during the world economic forum in Davos, Carter told CNBC, Many of them are not doing enough, or are doing nothing at all. The U.S. could add a lot, but it’s mandatory that other members of the 65-nation-alliance “carry their weight” as well.

Usually the “international alliance” is the key argument of the U.S. government for demonstrating its determination in the war on the jihadists. But for some time Washington has been frustrated at the inactivity of several Arabian states, which are admittedly members of the coalition, but in fact do not cooperate; i.e., Saudi Arabia is part of the anti-IS-coalition but the kingdom is focusing on its illegal war in Yemen right now.

During the course of a second interview with Bloomberg TV, Carter spoke about a “so-called alliance” and stressed that “free riders” would not be tolerated. During talks with his European alliance partners last week, the minister pushed for an enhancement of the engagement in Syria. Last Friday he confirmed his demands on Turkey to do more to secure their long border to Syria and Iraq, as many foreign fighters still travel across these borders to Syria without any control.

The U.S. is obviously not satisfied with Turkey and the alliance – and according to statements from U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, the U.S. is prepared to intervene with troops in Syria, just in case Syria peace talks fail. A few days before starting peace talks in Geneva, Biden stated in Istanbul that it would be better if a political solution were reached, but “if that’s not possible, to have a military solution to this operation in taking out Daesh.”

As a first step, the U.S. is establishing an air force base in Syria. U.S. Special Forces and experts are refurbishing a former agricultural airport in Rmeilan, in province of Hasakeh. The aim is to construct an airfield for helicopters and cargo aircraft in order to fly in equipment and ammunition for the Kurds, according to news agency AFP, who quoted sources from Syrian army and security staff last Saturday.

Nearly one hundred U.S. specialists together with fighters from the Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPD) are expanding the landing strip to a length of up to 2.700 meters. Before the outbreak of war the airport was just used by small agricultural planes. Military personnel from Syria reported that U.S. troops have now been working for more than three months to expand this airfield.  

Syrian security personnel further reports that U.S. Special Forces and military advisers are currently using this airport - which is located in a village in the very north-eastern part of Syria and borders nearby Turkey and Iraq - as a base to accomplish their helicopter missions on the front line.
A spokesperson of the rebel union “Syrian Democratic Forces” rejected this description and said Rmeilan would just be used as an “agricultural airport.”

The U.S. Department of Defence also denied that U.S. troops had taken control over an airport in Syria. "There has been no change to the size of mission of the U.S. presence in Syria," said spokesperson of U.S. Central Command, Colonel Pat Ryder. "That being said, US forces in Syria are consistently looking at ways to increase efficiency for logistics and personnel recovery support."

At the end of October, U.S. President Barack Obama approved the dispatch of 50 U.S. Special Forces to Syria, to provide assistance for “moderate rebels”. The U.S. forces are providing air support to the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces in their fight against jihadi militia Islamic State (IS).  The Syrian Democratic Forces are composed of Kurdish and Arabic rebel militias in the northern part of Syria.

During a common press conference, together with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, U.S. Vice President Biden explained that the two partners are also discussing strategies how these two NATO member states could provide further support to Sunni rebel groups in their fight against Syrian President Baschar al-Assad.

According to Mr. Biden, the U.S. would be aware that the illegal Kurdish labor party PKK would pose a threat to Turkey comparable to the I.S. Therefore, Turkey has to take all necessary steps to protect its citizens.

But the main reason for U.S. nervousness is not the inactivity of their allies, but the consecutive successes of the Russians in province Latakia. The Russians formed an efficient alliance with Syria, Iran and Iraq – and they succeeded to forge a strong Syrian army. Russia’s objective is to secure their own air base in order to prevent infiltration from terrorists coming via Turkey. Russia is also concerned that Islamist terror might be spreading throughout Russia’s territory as well.

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