Last week’s dramatic events in Syria, that began with a chemical weapons attack that left dozens dead and culminated in an American missile strike on an air force base belonging to the Syrian government, were watched with bated breath by people all over the world as they tried to extrapolate just what this turn of events means for ongoing relations with Syria, Russia, and other countries involved in the ongoing fight against ISIS in the region.
It stands to reason that no one was more interested in divining that outcome than the American troops already in Syria, serving as trainers, advisors, and support for rebel groups engaged in fighting the terrorist organization.
According to officials tied to ongoing American military operations in Syria, adjustments in strategy and methodology have been enacted in order to strengthen protections for American forces within Syria following Thursday night’s cruise missile attack on the Syrian government’s airbase. In order to protect operational security, those officials opted not to elaborate on the changes that have been made, but one official, who wished to remain anonymous, pointed out that the changes have not slowed or hindered U.S. strikes against ISIS targets in the region.
The U.S. Defense Department issued a statement that aligned with statements made by a number of government officials claiming that the strike was intended as a strategic deterrent to any further chemical weapon use by Assad’s regime, and while more action is possible, the American government has made it clear that they hope not to have to intervene into Assad’s military activities again. The Russians, for their part, have issued statements suggesting that they would act to defend Assad’s assets in Syria – a puzzling sentiment, seeing as they were given advanced warning of Thursday’s attack and chose to take no action whatsoever to prevent it, despite theoretically having the capability to do so.