Russia Threatens Unilateral Force In Syria


Russia announced it will unilaterally crack down on violators of the current truce in Syria on March 22. The statement comes after a temporary “cessation of hostilities” began Feb. 27 in the country. 

The Syrian government and rebel factions say that numerous engagements have occurred despite the truce, reports BBC.  Russia, which supports Syrian government forces, called the current situation “unacceptable," urging the United States to agree to a long-term peace agreement.

“In the absence of U.S. reaction to these proposals, the Russian Federation will begin unilateral application of the rules provided under the agreement on 22 March,” said Russian General Rudskoi. 

U.S. officials rebuked Russia’s statements, saying that the breaches of the ceasefire were already being taken care of.

“We have seen the media reports on alleged Russian concerns over ceasefire violations. Whoever is making such statements must be misinformed, because these issues have been discussed at length already, and continue to be discussed, in a constructive manner,” said an American official.

The Russian threat of unilateral force comes as the United States and Russia broker peace talks in Geneva over how to end Syria’s civil war. 

The threat may be aimed at letting the U.S. know that Russia is not afraid to use force in the region, reports the Washington Post.  Russia pulled most of its armed forces out of Syria during the week of March 14.

This is not the first time that Russia has demanded greater U.S. cooperation in military operations.  Throughout the Syrian conflict, Moscow has tried to work closely with the Pentagon.

The U.S. is largely resisting total cooperation with Russia, noting aggressive Russian military action in Ukraine and Syria. 

The current ceasefire, while temporary, has given a much-needed reprieve from violence to the Syrian people, reports The Guardian.  Since Feb. 27, aid providers from the U.N. and Red Cross reportedly reached more than 150,000 Syrians.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is set to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin this week to discuss a lasting peace in Syria.

Sources: BBC, Guardian, Washington Post / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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