As was widely suspected, the US, UK and France launched an illegal war of aggression against Syria in the early hours of 14 April. The aggressors targeted two Syrian airbases and a civilian educational structure in Barzeh, while some reports form the ground say other targets including in Hama were engage by the aggressors.
However, in spite of the criminal acts from the US, UK and France, of the 103 cruise missiles launched by the aggressors, 71 were successfully intercepted by Syria’s missile defence systems. This fact was verified by the Russian Defense Ministry, whose forces did not participate in the conflict.
What’s more is that while Donald Trump bragged of his “new and smart” missiles, these missiles were in their majority, successfully intercepted by the forces of the Syrian Arab Army who were relying on often 30 year old Soviet hardware including the S-125 and S-200 systems as well as some Buk and Kvadrat units, as well as a few recent systems including the Pantsir-S1 combined short-to-medium range surface to air missile.
Because of the successful intercepting of the missiles, the overall material damage done by the attack is thought to be minimal. As a result of the attack, Russia has suggested offering further upgrades to Syria’s defensive weapons. According to the Russian General Staff,
“A few years ago, we refused to supply S-300 air defence systems to Syria due to the request of some of our Western partners. Taking into account what happened, we consider it possible to return to this issue. And not only with regard to Syria, but with regard to other states”.
Who won and who lost?
While the war was short and according to the US itself was a one time attack, an act of military aggression against a sovereign state that posed no threat to the attacking state, is necessarily defined as a war. In this ‘One Day War’ Syria clearly won as the majority of the missiles fired by the US, UK and France were shot down while those that landed did little damage.
For the US, this reality will be particularly embarrassing as modern western weapons, almost all of which were US made or designed have been in their majority shot down by a war torn, terrorist torn Arab Republic using Soviet weapons, some of which were originally produced before French President Emmanuel Macron was born. Clearly the US and its even more enthusiastic imperial partners of old Europe will have been severely embarrassed by this.
— Partisangirl 🇸🇾 (@Partisangirl) April 14, 2018
So while Syria is the clear winner and the US, UK and France the clear losers, what about the other parties to the conflict ?
Of the non-combatants to Syria’s ‘One Day War’, Turkey came out in the best shape. Hours before the attack, President Erdogan insisted that he maintained contacts with Washington and Moscow in hopes of attempting to de-escalate the situation. Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that Turkey which made its opposition to missile strikes from the US, Europe or Russia widely known, apparently did not allow the aggressors to use its NATO air base at Incirlik although the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, said the issue was discussed. This is an obvious euphemism for Turkey putting its foot down and holding on to its neutrality throughout the escalation of tensions. While in the aftermath Turkey said that the strikes were ultimately justified in sending a “message” to Damascus, one cannot underplay Turkey’s role in helping to retard the volatility in the conflict which led to the illegal strikes and nor can one ignore the fact that Turkey has every intention to stabilise the situation in line not with western wishers but with Turkey’s unique position in the Astana group for peace which also includes Iran and Russia.
While Russia can be accused of humiliating itself by failing to act in such a way that would have deterred western aggression against a partner and while Russia can be equally accused of sitting back rather than aiding Syria’s defences against the missile strike, Russia cannot be accused of being dishonest. In fact, Russia did exactly what it said it would do which is precisely nothing, unless Russian human or material assets were targets in the strike. Because no Russians came under threat, Russia sat by and did nothing, just as they promised to do.
Iran has promised retaliation, both against an earlier “Israeli” strike and in a broader sense against the US, UK and France strikes, but has not given a time or place for when this will occur. Because Iran has multiple military assets in Syria and the wider region, Iran may soon become the worst nightmare for any power seeking to aggressively attack or occupy an Iranian partner.
While the “Israeli” regime has been attempting to destroy the Syrian Arab Republic for decades, in this case, Tel Aviv dodged a bullet as it was not in “Israel’s” interest to unleash a conflict that had the potential to spiral out of control. If a wider conflict did emerge, many anti-“Israel” forces, including the Lebanese Resistance Movement Hezbollah may have abandoned their restrained posture and launched a full scale attack on the regime. Thus, the limited nature of the strike has shielded “Israel” from a conflict that it is ill-prepared to fight, while Syria’s successful defence against the aggression has sent a powerful message to “Israel”, a nation known for conducting its own illegal strikes against Syria and others.
–The Soviet Union
While the Soviet Union is no longer a state, all of the weapons used by Syria in self-defence against the imperialist onslaught were Soviet made. In spite of their age, they all did their job and did it well.
The political fallout
Because of the short nature of the war, the political fallout will certainly linger for far longer than the actual battle lasted. Russian President Vladimir Putin has already issued a statement condemning the strikes as de-facto illegal, by highlighting the fact that they were done without approval from the UN Security Council. Putin has also condemned the fact that the strikes which took place to avenge an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, where conducted on the eve of Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) inspectors arriving in Syria to conduct an independent investigation into the alleged events in Douma.
The Russian President has subsequently called for an emergency UN Security Council meeting where it is expected the Russian Ambassador will stridently condemn the US, UK and France for their aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic. Furthermore, however bad US-Iran relations have been, now they are automatically worse and likely will be for some time. Iranian leader Seyyed Ali Khamenei has called the attack a “crime” and beyond that, he accused the imperialist powers of acting in support of dangerous Takfiri terrorists. In respect of Turkey, the fact that President Erdogan’s calls for restraint were answered in the affirmative by Russia but not by the US, will only push Turkey further towards its already healthy Russian partnership.
Syria can rightly claim a victory on the level of David slaying Goliath. The US, UK and France will need to face the fact that their latest weapons are susceptible to being intercepted by decades old Soviet technology and that therefore the western powers are not as invincible as they believe themselves to be. In terms of the wider political situation, relations between the US and Russia and also between the US and Iran will only continue to deteriorate, while Turkey can claim a position of neutrality that was respected by Russia, but was not fully appreciated by the west.