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Vol. 81/No. 15      April 17, 2017

(special supplement)

Washington escalates war in Syria, Mideast

Washington deepened its widening military intervention in the Middle East and Syria’s six-year-old civil war April 6 by launching 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from U.S. warships in the Mediterranean against Assad’s Al Shayrat air force base. They charge that the Bashar al-Assad dictatorship in Damascus used chemical weapons against civilians in the opposition-held town of Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib province, last week.

“Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the air base in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched,” President Donald Trump told reporters at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, where he is hosting a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Trump said that Assad’s repression has created a refugee crisis that “continues to deepen, and the region continues to destabilize, threatening the United States and its allies.”

But the destabilization is the result of Washington’s wars in the region — Iraq three times, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen and more.

Thirteen people were killed by the missile strikes, including five soldiers on the base and eight civilians near the facility. Four children were among the civilian deaths. The U.S. military said the strikes damaged and destroyed aircraft, support infrastructure and equipment at the base.

Moscow and Tehran immediately joined their ally in Damascus condemning the U.S. strikes. They claimed Assad’s planes bombed a chemical weapons warehouse controlled by opponents of his regime.

Eyewitness reports from the site of the bombing in Khan Sheikhoun said Syrian planes dropped bombs April 5 releasing gas, causing what medics on the ground described as symptoms of nerve gas poisoning. They also reported evidence of chlorine gas. Almost 80 people died including 27 children. Over 500 were injured, many are in critical condition. A few hours later, regime jets bombed one of the hospitals where victims of the gas attack were being aided.

According to the World Health Organization, autopsies on victims sent to hospitals in Turkey showed clear evidence of death caused by a nerve agent like sarin.

Since being bolstered by Moscow’s air power and ground forces from Iran, Hezbollah and Shiite militias, the Assad regime has combined murderous bombing with sieges to starve and batter opposition-held areas. They then offer what they call “reconciliation” deals to get the fighters to surrender their territory. Then they are allowed to go to Idlib province.

Now Assad is using his air power — and chemical weapons — to pound rebel areas there. These attacks are heinous crimes. Toilers in Syria have no revolutionary party. Worldwide solidarity, political space and the development of such a party are the only road forward for working people in Syria and the region.

Declarations of support for Washington’s attack came from Democrats and Republicans alike in the U.S. and from the rulers of capitalist powers around the world. Liberal newspaper editors implacably hostile to the Trump administration, hailed the missile attack.
Related articles:
US hands off Syria! US troops out of Mideast!
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