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    Armed men in uniform identified by Syrian Democratic forces as US special operations forces ride in the back of a pickup truck in the village of Fatisah in the northern Syrian province of Raqa on May 25, 2016

    Deir ez-Zor Attack Reveals Washington's 'True Intentions' in Syria

    © AFP 2017/ DELIL SOULEIMAN
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    The United States does not want to resolve the Syrian crisis; instead Washington is trying to perpetuate the years-long conflict to gain leverage and weaken Russia's influence in the country ahead of possible peace talks, experts told RIA Novosti.

    "I think that the United States is more focused on reducing Russia's influence in Syria than on finding a peaceful way to resolve the conflict" in the war-torn Arab country, General Gamal Mazlum said, referring to the US-led coalition airstrike on the Syrian Arab Army's base in the city of Deir ez-Zor.

    The United States and Turkey, he added, "are trying to extend their influence in the region to improve their standing during the talks that some say could be held in October."

    A Syrian child clears debris from a street in the northeastern city of Deir Ezzor
    © AFP 2017/ AHMAD ABOUD
    A Syrian child clears debris from a street in the northeastern city of Deir Ezzor

    The United States does not object to instability in the Middle East, he added, pointing to Washington's policies in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, the countries now plagued by sectarian violence and terrorism. "The United States is OK with what is happening in the Middle East right now," he said.

    Mazlum further said that the Syrian conflict that has claimed more than 280,000 lives and left half of the country's population displaced had to be resolved through diplomatic means. "The time for a political settlement in Syria, whatever it might be, has come," he said.

    "Regardless of the situation on the battlefield, it will not make Syria stable. Let Bashar al-Assad remain [in power] during the transition period, for, say, six months and then there will be a transfer of power," the defense analyst noted.

    The fate of the Syrian president has been one of the main points of contention among key stakeholders involved in the conflict. The United States, as well as its allies in Europe and the Middle East have demanded that Assad must go. This rhetoric has become less pronounced in recent months, but the idea is still at the core of Washington's strategy in Syria.

    For its part, Moscow is more focused on tackling terrorist groups in the country. In addition, Russia has long maintained that the Syrian people are the only ones who can determine the nation's future and choose its leader.

    Rebel fighters fire a heavy machine gun during clashes with Syrian pro-government forces on the frontline facing Deir al-Zoghb, a government-held area in the northwestern Idlib province, on August 31, 2015
    © AFP 2017/ OMAR HAJ KADOUR
    Rebel fighters fire a heavy machine gun during clashes with Syrian pro-government forces on the frontline facing Deir al-Zoghb, a government-held area in the northwestern Idlib province, on August 31, 2015

    Washington's true goals in Syria have been questioned following the Deir ez-Zor attack.

    Syrian Air Force General Reda Shariki does not believe that the September 17 attack was unintentional, taking into account the US-led coalition's capabilities, intelligence data and resources, including detailed maps showing the SAA and Daesh locations. He called the airstrike "a dangerous incident, considering major doubts with regard to Washington's true intentions."

    The airfield in Deir ez-Zor has long remained a "bane of Daesh," one of the only areas in the city controlled by Damascus-led forces that has served as a channel for food and medical aid deliveries to civilians trapped in the city.

    "The US needed such a large-scale attack to show that it was committed to protecting armed groups and fueling aggression," he said. The airstrike was also meant to "justify their presence as a force opposed to Russia and Syria, as well as to counter Russia's growing influence as a state capable of solving regional issues at the negotiating table."

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    Tags:
    airstrike, US foreign policy, Syrian crisis, Syrian conflict, Bashar al-Assad, Deir Ez-Zor, Syria, United States, Russia
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