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Syria strike would escalate US-Russia hostilities: Analyst

Keith Preston

If the United Sates were to launch an airstrike on Syria, it would certainly escalate the hostilities between Washington and Moscow and even could develop into a direct military confrontation between the two powers, says Keith Preston, an American political analyst in Virginia.

Russia has said that threats by the US and France to launch a military aggression against Syria violate the UN Charter, calling on the West to "seriously consider" the consequences of such intimidation.

"At the highest level, the presidents of the United States and France threatened a tough reaction, with the use of force against Syria. I would like to note that the threat of using force against a UN member state is a gross violation of the charter of this organization," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

The US and its allies have been threatening Damascus with military action since April 7, when a suspected chemical attack on the Syrian town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, reportedly killed 60 people and injured hundreds more.

The possibility of an attack grew larger on Wednesday, after Trump warned Russia, Syria’s key supporters in the fight against foreign-backed militancy, to "get ready" to shoot down American missiles over Syria soon.

But Trump tempered those remarks on Thursday, saying the US response could be "very soon or not so soon at all!"

“If the United Sates were to launch an airstrike on Syria in collusion with France there could be a number of potential consequences. One is that it would certainly escalate the hostilities between the United States and Russia,” said Preston, chief editor of

“It is possible that there could actually be a shooting war between Russian forces and between the American and other Western forces involved in this action,” he added.

“Now I don’t think that either side, either the Russians or the Americans really want it to come. I think both sides probably think that the consequences of that would be too extreme for their own positions. But there would be an escalation of hostilities between the major Eastern and Western powers, not only Russia but also other major Asian powers, China, India and Iran.  This East-West tension would certainly increase,” he stated.  

The analyst also said that Takfiri “organisations in Syria would likely be emboldened by the American strike because they would see this having an effect of weakening the position of President Assad. They would feel emboldened to continue their war against Assad, and this would in turn have the impact of reducing the prospect of peace in Syria.”

On Thursday, US Defense Secretary James Mattis also warned that a military strike on Syria carried the risk of spiraling out of control.

Speaking before a House Armed Services Committee hearing, Mattis said his primary concern in planning military action was avoiding anything that would trigger a wider war.

“On a strategic level, it’s how do we keep this from escalating out of control,” he said.

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