“The move could potentially put the American troops in the cross hairs of Russia,” reports the New York Times.
Last week, America’s top military official, General Joseph F Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate committee that Russia’s air support had changed everything. “The balance of forces right now are in Assad’s advantage,” he said.
This is the context in which to interpret the latest, surprise move by Obama to send Special Forces into Syria. It is more about inhibiting Russian success in destroying the sundry anti-regime forces on the ground than about either “helping the fight against Islamic State” as claimed, or about misgivings of a large-scale American invasion.
…This perspective most likely explains the hastily convened “peace conference” in Vienna. US Secretary of State John Kerry’s apparent concernto “stop the bloodshed” does not seem credible as the primary motive.
…According to senior Syrian army intelligence, up to 500 mercenaries were flown to Yemen onboard Turkish, Qatari and Emirati planes.