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Russia Warns US Not To 'Play With Fire' In Syria After Massive Battle Reportedly Killed Hundreds
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.
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:
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- The U.S. and North Korea look like they'll get right back into a nuclear standoff after the Olympics
- The Pentagon is still in the dark about Trump's military parade — but it could use donations to help pay for it
- Turkey's Erdogan says his forces will besiege Kurdish Syrian town of Afrin in coming days
- As ISIS loses ground in the Middle East, its fighters are coming to the Philippines
Former Marine Commandant tells Trump that pardoning troops accused of war crimes 'relinquishes the moral high ground'
Former Marine Commandant Gen. Charles Krulak has issued a statement urging President Donald Trump and members of Congress to oppose pardons for those accused or convicted of war crimes since, he argued, it would "relinquish the United States' moral high ground."
"If President Trump follows through on reports that he will mark Memorial Day by pardoning individuals accused or convicted of war crimes, he will betray these ideals and undermine decades of precedent in American military justice that has contributed to making our country's fighting forces the envy of the world," said Krulak, who served in the Marine Corps for more than three decades before retiring in 1999 as the 31st Commandant.
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Associated Materials, a residential and commercial siding and window manufacturer based in Ohio, employs people from a variety of backgrounds. The company gives them an opportunity to work hard and grow within the organization. For Tim Betsinger, Elizabeth Dennis, and Tanika Carroll, all military veterans with wide-ranging experience, Associated Materials has provided a work environment similar to the military and a company culture that feels more like family than work.
President Donald Trump will nominate Barbara Barrett to serve as the next Air Force secretary, the president announced on Tuesday.
"I am pleased to announce my nomination of Barbara Barrett of Arizona, and former Chairman of the Aerospace Corporation, to be the next Secretary of the Air Force," Trump tweeted. "She will be an outstanding Secretary! #FlyFightWin"
The Trump administration is trying to assure Congress that it does not want to start a war with Iran, but some lawmakers who fought in Iraq are not so sure.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford both briefed Congress on Tuesday about Iran. Shanahan told reporters earlier on Tuesday that the U.S. military buildup in the region has stopped Iran and its proxies from attacking U.S. forces, but the crisis is not yet over.
"We've put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans," Shanahan said. "That doesn't mean that the threats that we've previously identified have gone away. Our prudent response, I think, has given the Iranians time to recalculate. I think our response was a measure of our will and our resolve that we will protect our people and our interests in the region."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump warned on Monday Iran would be met with "great force" if it attacked U.S. interests in the Middle East, and government sources said Washington strongly suspects Shi'ite militias with ties to Tehran were behind a rocket attack in Baghdad's Green Zone.
"I think Iran would be making a very big mistake if they did anything," Trump told reporters as he left the White House on Monday evening for an event in Pennsylvania. "If they do something, it will be met with great force but we have no indication that they will."