For the people of Douma, the past weekend saw what appears to be another chemical attack, with dozens of deaths. Testimony from witnesses says that it appears as though people suffocated to death. In light of this attack, the war of words has begun.
The Syrian government forces under the leadership of Assad have been blamed for the attack, while the Syrian government has attempted to deflect blame onto others and shift the focus to recent airstrikes within the country.
U.S. President Trump has called out Syria, letting them know that all options are on the table. Yet, the U.S. presence in Syria has been seen as critical to check the power grab from Iran and Russia.
Now this latest attack seems to have put those U.S. plans on hold.
In the meantime, the Syrian government claims that on Monday, loud explosions were heard near the T-4 airfield, in what was called an alleged missile attack by the U.S. government. The Pentagon has denied the attack.
“At this time, the Department of Defense is not conducting air strikes in Syria,” said the Pentagon in a statement. “However, we continue to closely watch the situation and support ongoing diplomatic efforts to hold those who use chemical weapons, in Syria and otherwise, accountable.”
Last year, Trump bombed Syria in retaliation for another chemical attack, which led to strained tensions between the U.S. and Russia. The presence of Russian forces at Syrian military bases makes it tricky to attack Assad’s forces without the risk of engaging with Russia by default.
Tensions continued to rise on Monday as the Syrian and Russian governments accused Israel of attacking Homs in a missile strike, affectively acting as a proxy for the U.S. Israel did not comment on Monday’s missile strike, which is standard for the Jewish nation. Their airstrikes through the Syrian civil war have been numerous.
While Syria and Trump continue to argue about who did what, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) President-elect Maryam Rajavi pointed to a key player that is being overlooked.
“The Iranian regime is the main perpetrator of war and killings in Syrian and the source of crimes, such as the chemical bombing of Douma, which hurt the conscience of humanity,” said Rajavi. She strongly condemned the chemical attack and called on the world to take firm action to stop these “war crimes.”
Her comments remind the world that Russia is not the only backer of Assad and his forces. Iran has played a critical role in propping up his regime, while carving out a sizeable amount of Syria for itself. The question is will the war of words escalate or will Syria continue to be a humanitarian crisis where the Syrians are paying the price.