June 19 — after was shot down a Syrian su-22 — the Russian defense Ministry was struck by a wave of criticism on the United States.
Russia called it an “act of aggression” and “violation of international law”. Moscow has closed the communication channel with the United States and stated that it would consider U.S. air force and their allies West of the Euphrates as the target.
Later the Pentagon reported that the communication line is still running.
Meanwhile, the Russian press was filled with reports about American “aggression” and support for “terrorists”. As you might expect, one Russian Senator has called US actions in Syria is a provocation aimed against Russia.
According to the Pentagon, 18 June, the US shot down a Syrian su-22 in self-defense after the fighter jet ignored warnings and dropped a few bombs on U.S.-backed Syrian democratic forces (SDS) in the village of Diadin South-West of Raqqa.
SDS — the main and most effective partner of the US in the fight against ISIS (a terrorist organization banned in Russia — approx. ed.) in Syria.
Of course, the strike on the Syrian aircraft was a significant step. This signal on the rising tensions in Syria taking place in a few weeks. The last time an American plane was shot down by aircraft of another country in aerial combat 18 years ago during the Kosovo campaign.
But if to speak about Russian President Vladimir Putin, we are already faced with a similar situation. Moscow has closed the communication channel in April — after the US attack on Syrian air base with rockets. It was a response to one of the cruelest attacks with the use of chemical weapons in Syria for many years, which, according to the United States, was conducted by the Assad regime.
But despite the Kremlin’s anger, the effect of the communication channel soon officially resumed. Putin does not want a direct military confrontation with the United States in the Syrian sky: he knows that this fight he will lose.
It may seem surprising that Putin did not support VTS. This structure, which is dominated by Kurds — in particular, the Kurdish people’s protection units (YPG), the armed wing of the party “Democratic Union” and the Syrian offshoot of the Turkish Kurdistan workers ‘ party (PKK).
Moscow has close ties with the Kurds. The Soviet puppet created the PKK during the cold war. Most recently, in March, the representative of the YPG said that the group had agreed on the construction of the Russian base in ‘ Afrīn.
But for Moscow, the Kurds always been a tool to achieve the goal. ISIS is weakening, and Putin wants to ensure that the US and its allies have not filled the gap.
From the point of view of Moscow’s recent steps the United States starting air strikes on April 7 and ending with arming the Kurds, saying that the United States return to the middle East and displace Moscow. Putin wants to control the situation in Syria, and resentment to him seems the best option.
“Supporting SDS and the Kurds, the Americans not only strengthen separatist tendencies in the country, but also want to cut off the Assad regime of access to oil fields, located in the combat zone and the territory controlled by ISIS,” the article reads, “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” of 20 June.
“If the Americans at least tried to present their aggressive intentions against Syria under the guise of fighting terrorism, they are now beginning to operate openly. The Americans are the de facto start the aggression against Syria, but use of the Kurds,” — said the Russian expert on June 18.
Kurds are cooperating with the Russians and with the Americans, but more invested in the latter. Indeed, they always preferred to cooperate with the US and pushed them a clumsy American diplomacy.
Trump administration has demonstrated its commitment to SDS, and the Kurds have preferred the United States, Russia, angry Putin.
Another explanation of Moscow’s behavior may relate to the Kurdish forces. These forces, captured the Arab side of Raqqa with the help of US, become an obstacle to Assad, who promised to return every inch of Syria.
Of course, Moscow’s threats against the United States and its allies in Syria has already given results. Australia has suspended aerial combat mission over Syria. Such steps only show Putin that aggression pays off.
If Moscow will follow its threats targeting United States air force or its allies, Washington must respond. They, in particular, can remind you that Russia’s actions in targeting (light radar) is a hostile act, and the United States and coalition forces have the right to act in self-defense. Putin — not a giant. He’s looking for the others weakness. It can be contained, if you give him to understand that he will lose. The retreat will only increase his aggression.