Russian Ministry of Defense: US actions amount to war crime

04.11.2017, Russia.

The Russian Ministry of Defense accused US officials of committing actions that can be qualified as war crimes, Interfax reported on November 3.

According to the Russian Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria, US military advisors have established a camp gathering militants from various militant groups in the region of At Tanf near the Al Rukban refugee camp. In American terms, they are classified as “moderate opposition”, with whom cooperation is acceptable.

 “Such actions on the part of the US military and the so-called ‘International Coalition’ in the region of At Tanf are a gross violation of international humanitarian law, which may be classified as a war crime,” Interfax cites the Center officials.

According to the Center, US officials directly bargain with warlords about contracting militants on a paid basis. As a result, the payments may vary several-fold even within one group. This, in turn, initiates conflicts between militants.

A monetary dispute on October 29 near the Al Rukban refugee camp triggered a major firefight which killed 13 refugees and injured over 20, including children. Neither the militants nor the American side provided any aid to the wounded, so the number of those killed may not yet be final.

The Russian Ministry of Defense emphasized that the newly established base left refugees without any humanitarian aid, because they must not approach the base closer than 55 kilometers, or else they can be shot.

According to the US’ classification, the “moderate opposition” is the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) which is essentially a patchy alliance of insurgent groups. The USA officially supports this structure despite repeated reports about the involvement of “moderate opposition” members in the killing of civilians and other violent acts.

Editorial comment

The USA apparently has a clear intent to maintain a focus of tension in this region. Under the veil of peacekeeping rhetoric, they continue building forces ready to combat the Syrian government, regardless of what it brings to the Syrian refugees. This statement made by the Russian Ministry of Defense is the first statement of this kind since the Syrian conflict began; it suggests that Russia has started to openly discuss the support for terrorism on the part of the USA. Previously, the Russian Ministry of Defense limited itself to issuing intelligence reports; it published satellite and drone images showing that Coalition forces were located in the immediate vicinity of militant groups without any confrontation with them. However, no high-profile comments were made except for individual incidents when Syrian forces were directly shelled by the Coalition. This comment differs from all those made before, as it directly positions the Coalition on the terrorists’ side, and it can thus undermine the myth of peacekeeping intentions which is the sole media narrative in the majority of Western outlets.

Source: Rossa Primavera News Agency

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