The United States launched a strike against the Syrian air base on Thursday that was believed to be tied to Tuesday’s chemical weapon attack that left dozens, including children dead. Immediately following the strike, reports began to emerge of the United States providing Russian troops in the region an early warning, in order to prevent a potentially dangerous escalation of tensions between the two military powers backing disparate parties in the six-year civil war that has ravaged the nation.
Concerns about how the Kremlin would interpret this strike, and how they would respond, were likely on the minds of many American service members throughout the evening, as the world waited with bated breath to find out if the United States’ actions would be interpreted as an act of war by the Assad regime, or if the strike would be construed internationally as a single military action intended to demonstrate that the United States would not sit idly by while weapons of mass destruction were unleashed on innocent civilians.
While this distinction seems like mere semantics, the way Syria and Russia interpret the United States actions will have far-reaching effects on how matters progress in the war-torn nation – currently amidst a multi-sided civil war while maintaining continuous operations intended to root ISIS out of their self-proclaimed capital, which also lies in Syria.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded Friday morning by announcing that Russia has officially suspended a military cooperation agreement with the United States in Syria that allowed the two states to coordinate air strikes in such a manner as to limit the potential for conflict between U.S. and Russian forces.