US not at war with Assad in Syria


WASHINGTON, Aug 4: The Pentagon has announced that the United States is not at war with the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, but it is fighting against the ISIL terrorist group.
“We are not at war with the Assad regime,” Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said on Monday.
“The people we are training and equipping are pledged to fight ISIL and only ISIL, so this is not something we view as inviting confrontation with Assad in any way,” he added.
The comment was made after President Barack Obama authorized using airstrikes in Syria to defend US-trained militants if they come under attack by the government forces or other groups.
White House National Security Council spokesman Alistair Baskey said the Obama administration has made clear it will “take the steps necessary to ensure that these forces could successfully carry out their mission.”
He added that the support would include “defensive fires support to protect them.”
Analysts say the new order would ignite a direct conflict between Washington and Damascus.
Former CIA contractor Steven Kelley told Press TV on Monday that the Pentagon is entering a “new stage” by threatening to use air power in Syria.
The Pentagon spokesman, however, said his country is not seeking to engage militarily with the Assad forces.
“This is simply us following through with an obligation we made to help defend them [US-trained militants] from other threats,” Davis said.
Meanwhile, Russia criticized Obama’s decision to use air power in Syria and warned about its consequences.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow has “repeatedly underlined that help to the Syrian opposition, moreover financial and technical assistance, leads to further destabilization of the situation in the country.”


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