After the April 7th suspected chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma that reportedly killed at least 70 people, there were fears that the Syrian conflict would worsen with international powers stepping in to take part in direct confrontation. The threat of the conflict spreading to an even larger scale was exacerbated as US President Donald Trump issues threats via his Twitter handle.
In the early hours of Saturday morning the US, UK and France launched strikes against targets at three sites in Syria. “I ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad,” Trump said late Friday at the White House. The strikes were launched at a time when most of Europe and the Middle East was shrouded in darkness. The Syrian Armed Forces said in a statement that 110 missiles were fired on Syrian targets and that the country’s defense systems “intercepted most of the missiles, but some hit targets including the Research Center in Barzeh.”
Russia’s news agency TASS reported that none of the missiles fired by the three western nations struck areas near its naval and air bases in Syria. Those bases come under the protection of Russian air defense units.
The strikes have divided opinion; in the United Kingdom, Jeremy Corbyn has questioned whether humanitarian intervention can ever be a legal justification for launching military action, and called for a “war powers act” that would force future UK governments to seek approval from parliament. The Labour leader repeated his assertion that the bombing raids launched by the UK early on Saturday morning, in cooperation with the US and France, may have been illegal.
Meanwhile, Russia’s ambassador to the UN said during Friday’s session of UN Security Council that its specialists found no traces of “toxic substance use” in Douma. Vassily Nebenzia went one step ahead and said Russia had “clear evidence” that the incident was staged. The comments came as Igor Konashenkov, Russia’s defence ministry spokesman, said in a televised appearance that his country had “evidence” the UK was involved in organizing the chemical attack in Douma.
The alleged Chemical attack should have been investigated by the United Nations. For now as the troika of US, UK and France blames the Assad regime for the attack, there are voices including Russia that believe that the attack was committed by powers who want to directly intervene in the war torn country. The irony is that as the world powers haggle over the incident, the people of Syria continue to suffer. The countries involved in the power struggle over Syria care little for the people affected by the long drawn civil war and more about fulfilling their own agendas.