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Pentagon Chief Statement hints division of Syria

Pentagon
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Russian and US forces have been communicating across the “deconfliction line” in Syria despite glitches, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters on Friday. The statements come in the light that seems Syria has been turned into Cold War Germany divided between the Zones of Influence of two competing superpowers.

The deconfliction line runs down the Euphrates River. US-led coalition forces and their Syrian militant allies are positioned on its eastern bank, while Russia-backed government troops control the western bank. He added there had been problems on the demarcation line, but they were resolved. He added there was “no need” for the coalition to go after Islamic State (Daesh) fighters into the government-controlled territories.

It seems that Syria is also rapidly devolving into the scenario of these countries, a single nation divided and mutated into a playground of great power interests.

Mattis said the Daesh caliphate was “on the run” and its fighters were fleeing west. He confirmed a statement by British General Felix Gedney who said Daesh forces heading west could mount counterattacks on the coalition, saying they attacked every day.

Some people escaped. That’s what happens in war. They moved, clearly, into the Middle Euphrates River Valley. We are in the process of crushing the life out of the caliphate there,” Mattis said. The situation with the demarcation essentially means that President Bashar Assad’s army will have to deal with Daesh fighters who flee west across the river.

Read more: Dozens killed as fierce fighting in northwest Syria continues

“This is the normal thing that happens. I mean, it’s not a big issue. They’ll have to be hunted down. But I seriously doubt that Assad sees this as a positive on his side, either,” Mattis said. Earlier, the US Defense Department head wrote in an article that Pentagon will work together with Russia to promote mutual interests in Syria, saying that Washington is confident that the UN-led process in Geneva “will produce a Syria that is free of Bashar al-Assad and his family.”

Most troops on the UN side were American, but 90,000 British soldiers were involved in fighting the Chinese Red Army and more than 1,000 were killed, many of them conscripts. By the time an armistice was signed in July 1953, 2.5 million people had died.

Asked at a press gaggle in Washington whether the US plan for Syria was to dismantle it into several different countries, Mattis replied, “No.”

Syria has been divided into areas controlled by government troops and those held by militant forces backed by the US-led international coalition, with Kurds commanding vast northern territories. Mattis also told reporters at the Pentagon when asked whether Syrian government forces could disrupt US plans in Syria that “that would probably be a mistake”.

When pressed to elaborate on the remark, Mattis said his comments did not constitute a warning. Rather, he said, the remark reflected the reality on the ground in Syria, where a demarcation line separates the US-led coalition from Russian-backed Syrian government troops.

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Despite assurances by Mattis, the deconfliction line evokes the memory of East and West Germany or even North and South Korea. The separation of Berlin began in 1945 after the collapse of Germany. The country was divided into four zones, where each superpower controlled a zone. In 1946, reparation agreements broke down between the Soviet and Western zones. Response of the West was to merge French, British, and American zones in 1947.

The Americans controlled south of the line – the Russians installed a communist regime in the north, later ceding influence to China. In 1950 the North launched a surprise attack across the 38th parallel and quickly took most of the South.

The West wanted to revive the German economy and combine the three western zones into one area. Soviet Union feared this union because it gave the one combined zone more power than its zone. On June 23, 1948, the western powers introduced a new form of currency into the western zones, which caused the Soviet Union to impose the Berlin Blockade one day later.

After Germany was divided into two parts, East Germany built the Berlin Wall to prevent its citizens from fleeing to the west. The wall physically divided the country into eastern communism and western democracy. Many East Germans tried to escape to the west because it was economically prosperous and granted its citizens more freedoms.

Read more: Fight in the skies of Eastern Syria

The Berlin Wall was the climax to the separation of Berlin. It was built on the night of August 12 with barbed wire entanglements that stretched along the thirty mile line that divided Berlin. It is similar for the Korean peninsula. When the Japanese empire was dismantled at the end of World War Two, Korea fell victim to the Cold War. It was divided into two spheres of influence along the 38th parallel.

Syria has been divided into areas controlled by government troops and those held by militant forces backed by the US-led international coalition, with Kurds commanding vast northern territories.

The Americans controlled south of the line – the Russians installed a communist regime in the north, later ceding influence to China. In 1950 the North launched a surprise attack across the 38th parallel and quickly took most of the South. The United Nations then backed what it called a “police action” to repulse the advance and the Korean War, which would last for three years, had begun.

Most troops on the UN side were American, but 90,000 British soldiers were involved in fighting the Chinese Red Army and more than 1,000 were killed, many of them conscripts. By the time an armistice was signed in July 1953, 2.5 million people had died. The line of division remained where it had started – at the 38th parallel.

Read more: Syria must independently defeat terrorism

It seems that Syria is also rapidly devolving into the scenario of these countries, a single nation divided and mutated into a playground of great power interests.


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