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US explicitly warns Damascus not to attack its rebels

5th Aug 2015
US explicitly warns Damascus not to attack its rebels

WASHINGTON (AA): The U.S. directly stated Tuesday that it would protect its nascent force of Syrian rebels from Syrian government attacks.

“What we are trying to convey is that we’ll also do defensive efforts in case or in the hypothetical that they would come under fire from Syrian forces,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters.

He ruled out that any such attack would be offensive, however, Toner said “any type of effort to protect them from Syrian forces would be defensive in nature”.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest hinted at the policy Monday, saying previous warnings that Washington issued to Damascus to not interfere with its aerial bombardment of Daesh and other Syrian extremists holds true for the U.S.-trained opposition forces.

He added that the U.S. and its coalition partners are “committed to using military force where necessary to protect the coalition-trained and equipped Syrian opposition fighters that are operating against ISIL inside of Syria right now”.

The decision by President Barack Obama could potentially further Washington’s stake in the Syrian conflict, and drag the U.S. deeper into ongoing hostilities – action the Obama administration has been reluctant to take.

Author: Michael Hernandez
[Photo: Syrian rescue workers search for survivors in the rubble of a buildings destroyed after a plane belonging to the Syrian forces crashed into a market in the opposition-controlled Eriha district of Idlib, Syria on August 03, 2015. Photographer: Firas Faham/Anadolu Agency]

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