Russian Ambassador Criticizes Defense Department’s Analysis of Situation in Syria

Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov believes that the Defense Department’s recent comments about Russia allegedly impeding US efforts to fight terrorism in Syria lack common sense. 

“We believe that such remarks, that are sometimes beyond the bounds of decency, on highly professional actions of the Russian military personnel in Syria are devoid of common sense. They divert attention from the fact that Americans themselves on a daily basis violate flight safety rules in the Syrian air space,” the diplomat stated.

He stressed that in contrast to the Russian military, US armed forces are deployed in Syria in violation of international law.

“In essence, they occupy the specific regions, masking their actions with the necessity to carry out counter-terrorism tasks,” he stated.

“The United States policy on Syria is undoubtedly deeply disruptive. Not only does it hinder the stabilization of the situation as well as restoration of the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, but also it has negative implications for the whole Middle East,” Antonov added.

On July 6, 2023, the Pentagon posted video footage allegedly showing an encounter between Russian Su-25 fighter aircraft and US MQ-9 Reaper drones. The US Department of Defense asserted that one Russian aircraft got close to the US drone on July 5, 2023 in the Syrian airspace and “dropped multiple parachute flares in front of the drones, forcing the US aircraft to conduct evasive maneuvers.” An additional Su-25 “engaged their aircraft’s afterburner while positioned in front one of the MQ-9s, reducing the U.S. operator’s ability to safely operate the drone.”

In a similar vein, Oleg Gurinov, deputy chief of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties in Syria, said on July 5 that the US-led international coalition’s drones were caught flying over an area where Russian-Syrian drills were occuring five times during the past day in clear violation of flight safety rules. The Russian authorities manifested concerns about systemic violations of the deconfliction protocols connected to the flights of the coalition’s drones.

On July 6, the Russian military official manifested his disquietude over the fact that US military drones use their electronic fire guidance systems on Russian aircraft, which automatically triggers their defensive aid systems.

Indeed, the Russians have every reason to be concerned with US provocations in Syria. For one, the US has no business getting involved in Syria, much less the rest of the Middle East. It’s a major chaos agent in the region. Russia has a strategic interest in securing its near abroad and adjacent regions like the Middle East. The Middle East is a hotbed for extremist entities, which the US has historically funded to the tune of billions. For that reason, Russia has an interest in promoting stability in the regime by propping up the embattled regime of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

Unfortunately, as long as the universalist foreign policy mindset exists in DC, there will be no return to normalcy as far as US foreign policy is concerned.

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