Moscow, Russia. After just passing more sanctions, the US has now moved multiple missile systems into Syria, a conflict it was not invited to participate in and one it does not have a declaration of war for under US law.
Military leaders in Russia on Thursday accused the American led coalition of deploying missiles against Syrian troops at a garrison in the east of the country, where rebels battling the Islamic State group are being trained.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said the “United States has moved two HIMARS multiple rocket launchers from Jordan to the Al-Tanaf US special forces base.” This suggested that the equipment would be used for strikes against Syrian government forces, the statement added.
The forces of the American led anti-ISIS coalition have repeatedly used strikes on Syrian government forces fighting ISIS near the Jordanian border. “Deploying any type of foreign weapons on Syrian territory… must be approved by the government of the sovereign country, it’s not hard to guess that similar strikes will be continued against contingents of the Syrian army in the future using HIMARS,” the Russian statement concluded.
Russia has conducted a bombing campaign in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad since September 2015, and last week branded a coalition strike on pro-regime fighters an “act of aggression.”
Meanwhile back in Washington, a US Defense Department spokesperson confirmed the deployment of the HIMARS system to the base, but did not say how many. Last week the Pentagon credited Russia with helping to calm tensions in southern Syria after a US jet shot down a pro-regime combat drone that had fired at coalition forces.