The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 23rd June 2017

The real face of imperialism in Syria

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

THE PROSPECT of a direct clash between Russia and US imperialism in Syria has drawn closer following the downing of a Syrian aircraft by an American warplane last weekend. The pilot bailed out near the terrorists’ lines and was later rescued by Syrian commandos. The Syrian government has called on the United Nations to condemn these “cowardly and reckless military actions,” saying that this latest act of aggression reveals the “real face and the underhand goal” of the US-led coalition and shows beyond any doubt Washington’s backing for terrorism.

This is the fourth time that the US-led coalition that purports to combat ISIS has attacked the Syrian armed forces and pro-government forces in Syria. The US military failed to use the hotline with Russia concerning this attack despite the fact that Russian warplanes were also on a mission in Syrian airspace at the time. Russia has now suspended all co-operation between the Russian air-force and NATO forces in Syria, and the Kremlin warns that their missile defence systems will, in future, intercept any aircraft in the area of operations of the Russian Aerospace Forces in Syria.

“In areas where Russian aviation is conducting combat missions in the Syrian skies, any flying objects, including jets and unmanned aerial vehicles of the international coalition discovered west of the Euphrates River will be followed by Russian air and ground defences as air targets,” the Russian Defence Ministry said.

The American imperialists are now trying to play down the incident but the Russian threat is being taken seriously by one of their allies, Australia, which has ordered its squadron to confine their activities to Iraq until further notice.

On Sunday 18th June an American F-18 shot down a Syrian fighter-bomber south-west of the ISIS-held city of Raqqa. The Syrian jet was targeting ISIS positions around Raqqa when it was hit by the US warplane. The Pentagon claimed that the Syrian jet was attacking positions held by the mainly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a puppet militia backed by US imperialism.

The US-led coalition said the attack was “collective self-defence” and claimed that it contacted the Russian military to de-escalate the situation after the strike. But the Russian Defence Ministry denounced the “cynical” US air-strike against the Syrian air-force as an “act of aggression.”

“The destruction of the Syrian Air Force aircraft by US aviation in Syrian airspace is a cynical violation of the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic,” the Russian Defence Ministry stressed.

“The repeated hostilities of US aviation against the legitimate armed forces of a UN member state under the guise of ‘combating terrorism’ are a gross violation of international law and de facto a military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic,” the ministry’s statement said.

The imperialist provocation, which many believe is deliberate escalation to pave the way for an American attempt to partition Syria, has provoked calls for firm action in Russia. Col-General Leonid Ivashov said that President Donald Trump is simply following in the footsteps of Barack Obama in the Middle East. Trump “talked about non-interference, then he gave the CIA and the Pentagon the task of restoring America’s control over the entire Middle East, and then he voiced the need to overthrow the president of the Syrian Arab Republic, Bashar al-Assad.”

The Russian general told the media that the Kremlin should use tougher language with Washington following the downing of the Syrian jet. “Probably, we need to talk tougher with the Americans,” Ivashov said. “These agreements on the coordination of military operations should be turned into reality. They do not react to diplomatic protests and continue to behave impudently, not entering into any commitments and acting only in their own interests.”