Russia Warns US Not To 'Play With Fire' In Syria After Massive Battle Reportedly Killed Hundreds

news

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned the U.S. not to "play with fire" in Syria after a massive escalation in violence took place on all sides of the multi-faceted conflict earlier this month.


"The U.S. .should stop playing very dangerous games which could lead to the dismemberment of the Syrian state," Lavrov said at a Middle East conference in Moscow on Monday, according to Bloomberg.

The U.S. has already announced plans to keep Syria divided until UN-sanctioned elections can take place across Syria, and it's made it clear it will respond with force when Russian, Iranian, or Syrian forces threaten that goal.

Related: Russian Mercenary Attack In Syria Reportedly Meant To ‘Test’ U.S. Military Resolve »

On February 7, a group of pro-government fighters, who were reportedly majority Russian military contractors, launched what the United States called an "unprovoked attack" on one of its positions in eastern Syria. The U.S. responded with airstrikes and shelling killing between 100 and 300, according to a variety of reports.

Lavrov also spoke of another front in the Syrian conflict, saying that he and his allies in Iran and Syria "are seeing attempts to exploit the Kurds' aspirations," a reference to the United States' support for Kurdish militias in northern Syria, who aspire to a state all their own.

Turkey views the Kurdish militias as part of a terror group and there is strong popular support in the country for an operation to clear the Kurds off its borders. Allegations of human rights abuses and shocking videos depicting violence against captured, unarmed Kurds have come out of the conflict in northern Syria as the U.S. stands by its Kurdish ally, whom they credit for defeating ISIS in the region.

Turkey has announced its intentions to start shelling the Kurdish town of Afrin in the coming days.

A U.S. Marine fires an M777-A2 Howitzer in the early morning in Syria, June 3, 2017.U.S. Marines Corps/Sgt. Matthew Callahan

Also during mid-February, Israel launched a massive air campaign against Iranian targets in Syria and lost an F-16 to Syrian air defenses. Syria and Russia now stand accused by an opposition figure of launching a "new holocaust" in rebel-held pockets of Syria, where some 98 people, including women and children, were reported killed on Monday.

"No words will do justice to the children killed, their mothers, their fathers and their loved ones," UNICEF's regional director Geert Cappalaere began a release on the Syrian government's recent bombing campaign. UNICEF left part of the statement blank to express its frustration.

It's unclear what "fire" Lavrov referenced in Syria, as the country has been in conflict for seven years.

What is clear is that the U.S. has a new foreign policy direction in the country, and it isn't afraid of fighting Iran, Syria, and Russia to keep Assad and Tehran out of power in the besieged country.

More from Business Insider:

WATCH NEXT:

Retired Lt. Gen. Charles "Chuck" Pitman Sr. (DoD photo)

The decorated U.S. Marine Corps pilot who risked his life and military career to help New Orleans police halt the Howard Johnson's hotel sniper attack that shattered the quiet of a Sunday morning and claimed seven lives in 1973 died Feb. 13 following a lengthy battle with cancer, according to his family.

Retired Lt. Gen. Charles "Chuck" Pitman Sr., whose heroics against Mark Essex that day earned him the eternal gratitude of city leaders and first responders, was 84.

Read More
A Syrian commando-in-training applies the safety on his rifle during basic rifle marksmanship training in Syria, July 20, 2019. (U.S. Army/Spc. Alec Dionne)

The U.S. government failed to effectively account for nearly $715.8 million in weapons and equipment allocated to Syrian partners as part of the multinational counter-ISIS fight, according to a new report from the Defense Department inspector general.

Read More

On Feb. 19, 1945, more than 70,000 U.S. Marines conducted an amphibious assault to take the Island of Iwo Jima from fortified Japanese forces. Over the next 36 days nearly 7,000 Marines would be killed during the battle, which is regarded as one of the bloodiest of World War II, as they faced hidden enemy artillery, machine guns, vast bunker systems and underground tunnels. Of the 82 Marines who earned the Medal of Honor during all of World War II, 22 medals were earned for actions on Iwo Jima.

Now, 75 years later, 28 Marines and Sailors who fought on Iwo Jima gathered to remember the battle at the 75th and final commemoration sunset ceremony Feb. 15, 2020, at the Pacific Views Event Center on Camp Pendleton, California.

Read More
REUTERS/Scott Audette/File Photo

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), has long been seen as an apologist for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, whom she met during a secret trip to Damascus in January 2017.

Most recently, a video was posted on Twitter shows Gabbard evading a question about whether Assad is a war criminal.

Since Gabbard is the only actively serving member of the military who is running for president — she is a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard — Task & Purpose sought to clarify whether she believes Assad has used chlorine gas and chemical weapons to kill his own people.

Read More
Barrett's bolt-action Multi-Role Adaptive Design (MRAD) system (Courtesy photo)

The Army is almost doubling its purchase of new bolt-action Precision Sniper Rifles as its primary anti-personnel sniper system of choice, according to budget documents.

Read More