A US senator has warned against the United States’ measures in Syria, which is pushing Washington “closer and closer” to a military conflict with Iran and Russia, describing the move as “another mistake on the scope of the Iraq War.”
Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Murphy made the comments in an interview with CNN on Tuesday.
“I think we’re getting closer and closer to open conflict with Iran and Russia, and the American public needs to know that we’re moving very fast toward what could be another war inside the Middle East,” Murphy said. “Something by the way that Donald Trump promised he wouldn’t do when he ran for office.”
The remarks came two days after a US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian Sukhoi SU-22 aircraft, which was conducting an operation against Daesh terrorists on the outskirts of Syria’s northern city of Raqqah.
The Sunday downing of the Syrian warplane prompted Russia to issue a threat against American airborne assets over Syrian airspace and track all coalition flights west of the Euphrates River.
The Democratic Senator also said that the US president had no authority to act on his own to engage in a war in Syria and that he must gain permission from Congress.
“There’s no authorization for military force that Congress has passed that gives the president the ability to take military action against the Syrian regime,” Murphy said.
“And we have to understand what we’re getting involved in, right. You are not just fighting Bashar al-Assad,” he noted. “If you’re going to ramp up military activity against Assad, you are also going in against Iran and Russia.”
Raising concerns over what he called “a dangerous escalation,” the Connecticut senator said it was not in the US interest to get involved in the Syrian war. “That would be another mistake on the scope of the Iraq War.”
Meanwhile, US General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said a day earlier that Washington was working to restore a “deconfliction” line with Moscow intended to avoid mid-air collisions over Syria.
Dunford said the US has “worked through a number of issues” with Russia and that the deconfliction link set up by both sides “has worked very well over the past eight months.”
The deconfliction arrangement was first established with Russia in 2015 but was suspended by Russia in April after the United States launched a missile strike on a Syrian military airfield. The line was re-established in May.
The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be the positions of Daesh terrorists inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate. The coalition has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians. It has also been largely incapable of fulfilling its declared aim of destroying Daesh.
On the other hand, Russia, along with Iran, has been assisting the Syrian government in its fight against terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the Arab country since 2011. Over the past few months, Syrian forces have made sweeping gains against Takfiri elements, who have lately increased their acts of violence across the country following a series of defeats on the ground.