Russia—which has spent months bombing targets in Syria on behalf of the Bashar al-Assad regime in that nation’s civil war—is now claiming that adding new ground troops from Assad enemies could start a world war. This same week, the Russians submitted a ceasefire proposal in Syria, while the US is slamming Russia for doing the opposite of peace in Syria.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, in an interview with German media Handelsblatt, said that Arab troops in Syria would start a “permanent war,” which he claimed is what happens when groundtroops get involved. He argued the sides should be negotiating “rather than start yet another world war.” Meanwhile, the BBC reported that Russia is thought to be proposing a March 1 ceasefire, and Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov was quoted by his office’s Twitter feed as saying they are “waiting for the US’s reply” before submitting the ceasefire proposal. The BBC noted March 1 is too late a ceasefire date according to the Americans, who emphasized that on Thursday.
Saying they want a ceasefire “as soon as possible,” US spokesman Mark Toner laid out their reasons for moving quickly in comments released by the State Department. “Given the facts on the ground of the increase in fighting over the past several days and the alarming number of refugees headed towards the border with Turkey and displaced people internally within Syria, it’s just an added sense of urgency to get that ceasefire in place,” he said.
Toner noted that Russia is “aiding the regime and carrying out airstrikes to support the siege of Aleppo,” where a humanitarian “crisis” is occurring according to the US spokesman.
The BBC said the US is concerned that a March 1 ceasefire will prove too late for Syrian rebels in some of their fights with the regime.
So could Saudi troops enter the fight to save the day? The US noted they could be helpful in keeping the peace, especially against ISIS (ISIL). Regardless, ISIS is one group who wouldn’t be part of any ceasefire. That apparently is something the Russians, Syrians, and Americans can accept.
Said Toner, “There is, I can say, unanimous agreement on that.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, February 11, 2016)