Lining up for World War 3?

Suggesting the escalation in Syria is a move closer to World War 3 might be over-dramatic but if the civil war explodes into a wider conflict it will be too late to quibble.

There are already a number of countries who have been directly involved in the Syrian conflict,  including Russia, USA, Turkey, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, UK, France, Germany and Australia.

The Herald asks Are these the battle lines for World War Three?

The US airstrikes on a Syrian regime airbase have hardened the dividing lines across the world in regards to the Assad regime.

They link to MailOnline Are these the battle lines for World War Three? Graphic shows which countries are siding with Russia or the US in their support – or condemnation – of Assad

  • President Donald Trump, 70, launched airstrikes on a Bashar al-Assad controlled airbase in Syria on Thursday
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today praised the American airstrike following the chemical attack
  • He said that the strikes sent a ‘strong and clear’ message that chemical weapons will not be tolerated in 2017 
  • Both Britain and Australia praised the US action as an ‘appropriate response’ to what happened in the week
  • Syria and Russia have denounced it as an ‘act of aggression’ with Putin saying it damages relationship with US

The US airstrikes on a Syrian regime airbase have hardened the dividing lines across the world in regards to the Assad regime.

MailOnline has set out world leaders’ positions on the conflict, which clearly shows the split between pro and anti-Assad countries.

It suggests which side of the battle line countries would position themselves on should the escalating crisis turn into an all out global conflict.

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The MailOnline has extensive coverage of the position of countries around the world on Syria.

The also have a time line of the conflict that began six years ago.


The U.S. attack on a Syrian air base came after years of heated debate and deliberation in Washington over intervention in the bloody civil war.

Chemical weapons have killed hundreds of people since the start of the conflict, with the U.N. blaming three attacks on the Syrian government and a fourth on the Islamic State group. One of the worst yet came Tuesday in rebel-held northern Idlib and killed dozens, including women and children.

That attack prompted President Donald Trump, on day 77 of his presidency, to dramatically shift U.S. policy, with the first direct U.S. attack on the Syrian government.

Trump blamed Syrian President Bashar Assad for the attack and called on the international community to join him in trying to end the bloodshed.

A timeline of events in Syria leading up to Tuesday’s attack:

March 2011: Protests erupt in the city of Daraa over security forces’ detention of a group of boys accused of painting anti-government graffiti on the walls of their school. On March 15, a protest is held in Damascus’ Old City. On March 18, security forces open fire on a protest in Daraa, killing four people in what activists regard as the first deaths of the uprising. Demonstrations spread, as does the crackdown by President Bashar Assad’s forces.

April 2011: Security forces raid a sit-in in Syria’s third-largest city, Homs, where thousands of people tried to create the mood of Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of protests against Egypt’s autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Aug. 18, 2011: President Barack Obama calls on Assad to resign and orders Syrian government assets frozen.

Summer 2012: Fighting spreads to Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and its former commercial capital.

August 20, 2012: Obama says the use of chemical weapons would be a ‘red line’ that would change his calculus on intervening in the civil war and have ‘enormous consequences.’

March 19, 2013: The Syrian government and opposition trade accusations over a gas attack that killed some 26 people, including more than a dozen government soldiers, in the town of Khan al-Assal in northern Syria. A U.N. investigation later finds that sarin nerve gas was used, but does not identify a culprit.

August 21, 2013: Hundreds of people suffocate in rebel-held suburbs of the Syrian capital, with many suffering from convulsions, pinpoint pupils, and foaming at the mouth. U.N. investigators visit the sites and determine that ground-to-ground missiles loaded with sarin were fired on civilian areas while residents slept. The U.S. and others blame the Syrian government, the only party to the conflict known to have sarin gas.

Aug. 31, 2013: Obama says he will go to Congress for authorization to carry out punitive strikes against the Syrian government, but appears to lack the necessary support in the legislature.

Sept. 27, 2013: The U.N. Security Council orders Syria to account for and destroy its chemical weapons stockpile, following a surprise agreement between Washington and Moscow, averting U.S. strikes. The Security Council threatens to authorize the use of force in the event of non-compliance.

Oct. 14, 2013: Syria becomes a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention, prohibiting it from producing, stockpiling or using chemical weapons.

June 23, 2014: The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says it has removed the last of the Syrian government’s chemical weapons. Syrian opposition officials maintain that the government’s stocks were not fully accounted for, and that it retained supplies.

Sept. 23, 2014: The U.S. launches airstrikes on Islamic State group targets in Syria.

Aug. 7, 2015: The U.N. Security Council authorizes the OPCW and U.N. investigators to probe reports of chemical weapons use in Syria, as reports circulate of repeated chlorine gas attacks by government forces against civilians in opposition-held areas. Chlorine gas, though not as toxic as nerve agents, can be classified as a chemical weapon depending on its use.

Aug. 24, 2016: The joint OPCW-U.N. panel determines the Syrian government twice used helicopters to deploy chlorine gas against its opponents, in civilian areas in the northern Idlib province. A later report holds the government responsible for a third attack. The attacks occurred in 2014 and 2015. The panel also finds that the Islamic State group used mustard gas.

Feb. 28, 2017: Russia, a stalwart ally of the Syrian government, and China veto a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing sanctions against the Syrian government for chemical weapons use.

April 4, 2017: At least 58 people are killed in what doctors say could be a nerve gas attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in the rebel-held Idlib province. Victims show signs of suffocation, convulsions, foaming at the mouth and pupil constriction. Witnesses say the attack was carried out by either Russian or Syrian Sukhoi jets. Moscow and Damascus deny responsibility.

April 4, 2017: President Donald Trump issues a statement saying that the ‘heinous’ actions of Assad’s government are the direct result of Obama administration’s ‘weakness and irresolution.’

April 5, 2017: Trump says Assad’s government has ‘crossed a lot of lines’ with the suspected chemical attack in Syria.

April 6, 2017: The U.S. fired a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria Thursday night in retaliation for this week’s gruesome chemical weapons attack against civilians, U.S. officials said. It was the first direct American assault on the Syrian government and Trump’s most dramatic military order since becoming president. Trump said strike on Syria in the ‘vital national security interest’ of the United States.


Wikipedia: Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War

Has Trump been sucked in to Syrian attack?

Who was responsible for the attack in Syria using chemical weapons? And why were chemical weapons introduced?

The President Trump and the United States have blamed the Syrian government, and launched a missile attack on a Syrian airfield and have warned the US is “prepared to do more.”

The Telegraph: US strikes on Syria: Nikki Haley tells UN: ‘We are prepared to do more. But we hope that will not be necessary’

US missile strikes on a Syrian air base have reportedly killed nine civilians – including four children – as Donald Trump launched the first direct American attack on Bashar Assad’s regime.

Four children are reported to be among nine civilians killed in the “targeted assault” on the air base, from where Mr Trump said a devastating nerve agent strike was launched earlier this week. Six servicemen are believed to have also been killed.

Mr Trump was reacting to the attack on Tuesday that killed at least 72 people, including 20 children, which he said was launched by Syrian president Assad.

Why would Assad use a nerve gas, knowing that it would be internationally condemned, and would risk an unpredictable reaction from President Trump. It was certain to complicate an already very messy multi-country situation in Syria.

Trump ordered a missile strike, and it seems to have provoked the Russians

Russia called the attack an “aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international law”, with President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman saying he believed the US had carried out the strikes under a “far-fetched pretext”.

Vladimir Safronkov, the deputy Russian ambassador to the UN, accused Britain of “colonial hypocrisy” in supporting the US air strikes, and said the rational was based on “lies”.

He warned Britain: “don’t get into fights in the Arab world”, and accused the US of “facilitating terrorism”.

Russia has diverted a warship to protect the Syrian coast and vowed to bolster Bashar al-Assad’s missile defences against more US strikes, risking a confrontation between the former Cold World foes.

The Kremlin also announced it was immediately suspending its air safety agreement with the US in response to missile strikes on a Syrian air base.

The memorandum, signed in October 2015, is designed to avoid clashes in the crowded airspace over Syria, with each side giving the other warning over planned strikes.

So that raises risks of escalation.

Mr Assad’s office denounced US strikes as a “rash”  action, describing the attack as “reckless, irresponsible behaviour” and that Washington was “naively dragged in by a false propaganda campaign”.

Has Trump been sucked in to the Syrian attack? If so by whom?

There are three certainties in war, death, destruction and propaganda. And a fourth – mistakes.

There are reports emerging suggestion at least some Russian responsibility for the chemical attack, and possibly complicity.

NY Post: Pentagon probes whether Russia had part in Syrian gas attack

Senior US military officials say the Pentagon is looking into whether Russia participated in the Syrian chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held town, according to the Associated Press.

A drone belonging either to Russia or Syria was seen hovering over the site of the chemical weapons attack Tuesday after it happened, the officials told The AP.

The unmanned aerial vehicle returned later in the day as people sought treatment at a local hospital, which was bombed a short time later.

The officials say they believe the hospital strike may have been an effort to cover up evidence of the chemical weapons attack.

A Syrian Air Force Su-22 warplane was monitored dropping a chemical weapons bomb that landed in Khan Sheikhun, where 86 people were killed, including 28 children, The Washington Examiner reported.

Two officials who briefed reporters at the Pentagon Friday said the US had no evidence of Russian complicity, but that any leads would be followed up.

“Any implication or lead that would indicate Russian involvement, we’ll investigate that lead,” one official said, the paper reported.

The officials said Russia has failed to control the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons.

Russia may or may not have been directly involved, but the fact that it is being reported that the Pentagon is investigating will increase tensions between the US and Russia even more.

Whoever used the gas in an attack in Syria will have known there was likely to be serious consequences and most likely an escalation of an already very messy and high tension situation.

International brinkmanship and war often has unintended consequences, and high-ego leaders often start down paths that they won’t reconsider, at least not until serious damage has been done.

A few Syrian kids getting gassed may be a relatively minor consequence of this escalation.

During last year’s presidential campaign Donald Trump was asked if he could “look children aged five, eight, ten, in the face and tell them they can’t go to school here”.

He responded: “I can look in their faces and say ‘You can’t come’. I’ll look them in the face.”

He looked into dead children’s faces a few days ago and used that horror as a reason to actively involve the US in the Syrian war.

He won’t get to look most of the children that die as a result of this. Neither will Assad. Nor Putin.

It seems certain that someone, whether it was Assad or Putin or one of their opponents, used the gas attack to deliberately provoke Trump, and it got a result. But that was just one short battle in what has already been a lengthy war. And it could get worse. Possibly a lot worse.

It was fairly obvious that Trump would be easily provoked. He has already proven to be an unpredictable reactionary irrational egomaniac.

Does it matter now who sucked trump into Syria? The fact is it has happened. Now the Middle east and possibly the world has to live with the consequences.

But not everyone – how many children won’t get to live to see how bad it gets?