Russia bombs Syria, U.S. seeks compromise



Photo Courtesy of The Atlantic

Prayag Bhakar, Staff Writer

After declaring to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), previously known as ISIS, on Sept. 30, Russia gave a one hour warning before it started bombing territories controlled by ISIL. Russia had claimed that all of these airstrikes were launched on key ISIL-controlled areas, yet several hours later analysts announced to the world that the airstrikes were not actually launched on ISIL, but rather areas controlled by the rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Social Studies teacher Michael Brown believes that Russia’s actions can be seen as a power move to make the U.S. leave the Middle East.

“We are suspicious of Russian airstrikes and the Russians escalating their involvement in Syria in general,” Brown said. “We would like to maintain our interests in the Middle East and not feel threatened by a greater Russian presence.”

Russia later stated that their attacks are being coordinated with the al-Assad Regime and that their attacks are not limited to fighting ISIL. The Russian Defense Ministry also stated that they did hit eight different areas controlled by ISIL.

Sophomore Parth Sandip Patel believes that Russia’s actions not only help their Syrian ally but also is a power play aimed at the U.S.

“These airstrikes are an obvious show of power,” Patel said. “This should not be a surprise since this fight between the countries has been going on between the U.S. and Russia since the Cold War.”

Statements by Russia made the Pentagon more skeptical of the actual goal of the strikes. Russia’s actions have caused an increase in the military presence of various countries in the area.

In response, the U.S. and Russia recently worked out a loose deal called the “open skies” agreement, preventing future conflict between Russia and U.S. in the air by setting guidelines to follow in order to avoid inciting conflict. However, parts of the deal are very general and cause many Western countries to still be cautious of Russia’s actions, despite the installment of constant military communication lines between Russia and U.S. following the deal.

After the signing of the “open skies” agreement, al-Assad stated that in order to uphold the agreement, Syria has to “eradicate terrorism.”  This has caused concern about the safety of the Syrian rebels due to the fact that al-Assad has called them a terrorist group.

Junior Grace Altman believes that Russia is still a potential threat to U.S. safety.

“I think that the chances of this deal working out are not good,” Altman said. “The U.S. should keep a careful watch on Russia because they have shown that they are not trustworthy.”