Tensions over Syria escalate between Russia, US

World Today

The relationship between Russia and the U.S. looked like it was getting better under President Donald Trump’s administration. But following the U.S. missile strike on Syria, relations are at new lows.

CGTN’s Nathan King reports.

Tensions over Syria escalate between Russia, US

The relationship between Russia and the U.S. looked like it was getting better under President Donald Trump’s administration. But following the U.S. missile strike on Syria, relations are at new lows.

After Donald Trump’s election victory it was supposed to be very different. In January 2017, Donald Trump seemed to want a good relationship with Russia.

“If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability, because we have a horrible relationship with Russia. Russia can help us fight ISIS, which, by the way, is, number one, tricky.”

But reality intervened. First, the U.S. Congress and the FBI launched investigations into possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign to defeat Hillary Clinton.

Then, after horrible images of a chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib Province, the Trump administration’s Syria policy went from non-intervention to intervention almost overnight.

“If Russia has the influence in Syria that it claims to have, we need to see them use it,” Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations said. “We need to see them put an end to these horrific acts. How many more children have to die before Russia cares?”

Trump ordered a unilateral strike on a Syrian airbase used by the Syrian and Russia air forces. U.S. intelligence claimed the chemical attack originated there.

U.S. media and U.S. allies who want the Syrian leadership removed, applauded the attack. But many are asking, what’s next?

Syria said its sovereignty has been violated.  Moscow said the U.S. attacked without credible evidence, just as Washington did in Iraq over a decade ago. Iran said the attack would only help terrorists in Syria.

The U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, first said the U.S. now wanted to see Syrian President Bashar al-Assad removed from office.  Then, Tillerson said U.S. policy in Syria had not changed from focusing on the battle against ISIL. Tillerson also accused Russia of failing to enforce a 2013 agreement to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations also continued to talk tough against Damascus and Moscow.No word from the U.S. President on how he now sees his relationship with Vladimir Putin.