US signals involvement in Syria could escalate (The Hill)

The United States is inching closer to involvement in the Syrian civil war after U.S. forces shot down a Syrian fighter jet on Sunday.

The incident is the fourth time in as many weeks that the United States has shot at pro-Syrian-government forces, and it carries the potential for further escalation — particularly with Russia threatening to target U.S. aircraft that fly into parts of
Syria.

It was the first time the United States has shot down a Syrian plane, and the first time a U.S. military jet has shot down any manned aircraft since 1999.

Robert Ford, a former U.S. ambassador to Syria, said there is real danger to the U.S. as tensions flare.

Nile Gardiner, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, doubted Moscow would follow through on its threat. Russia, for instance, did not retaliate militarily after Turkey shot down its jet in 2015, he noted.

He called the U.S. military’s decision to shoot down a Syrian jet a “welcome development.”

“Washington has sent a clear message to Moscow that it’s no longer business as usual,” he said. “For too long, the Russians have treated Syria as their own backyard.”

But even if neither Russia nor the United States wants to get dragged further into war, they could be “chain ganged” to their allies who are jockeying to control land taken from ISIS, said Stephen Biddle, adjunct senior fellow for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Other experts worry about the U.S. military attacking pro-Assad forces without a larger Syria strategy from President Trump.

the whole article here
http://thehill.com/policy/defense/338506-us-signals-involvement-in-syria-could-escalate

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