US Congress members visit rebel-held areas in northern Syria on August 27, 2023. (Photo: Social media)
A couple of delegations of US Congress persons and the US ambassador to Turkey paid illegal visits to areas held by anti-Assad forces on Sunday. Meanwhile, Israel conducted airstrikes inside Syria in recent days
Syria’s foreign and expatriate ministry issued a statement on Monday, August 28, accusing Israel and the US of trying to escalate the war in the country by supporting terrorists and aggravating the impact of economic sanctions.
The statement called on the UN Security Council to “resume its responsibilities and hold the Israeli occupation accountable for such crimes,” Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported.
The statement came after yet another Israeli air strike inside Syria targeting the Aleppo airport and making it dysfunctional. According to another SANA report, “at 4:30 am on Monday, the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial attack of aggression from the direction of the Mediterranean sea, west of Latakia, targeting Aleppo Airport.”
Israel has carried hundreds of such strikes inside Syria since the war began in the country in 2011. Hundreds of Syrians have died in these attacks which have aggravated the security situation and caused massive damage. Syria is already facing large-scale destruction due to the war.
Meanwhile, two delegations of US Congress members visited Syria’s rebel-held areas in the north without government permission and called for increased international pressure to remove Bashar al-Assad from power.
The first delegation was led by Republicans Ben Cline, Scott Fitzgerald, and French Hill. The second was a bipartisan delegation consisting of Joe Wilson, Dean Phillips, US ambassador to Turkey, Jeff Flake, and US special envoy to Syria, Nicholas Granger.
According to reports by Al-Mayadeen and Middle East Eye, the US delegations met with the representatives of extremist groups such as the Hayat al-Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which is considered to be backed by foreign nations including Turkey.
The war has killed over 500,000 Syrians and displaced almost half of the pre-war population of just over 20 million. Nearly half of those displaced are living as refugees in different countries. The war was backed by the US, Turkey, and some other regional countries. However, the Assad government has been able to win back most of the territories once controlled by the foreign-backed extremist groups with the help of Russia and Iran.
In the last couple of years, there has been an attempt to bring peace and stability to Syria. However, the US has refused to withdraw its forces, who are allegedly looting Syrian oil and providing arms and training to rebel forces. It has also imposed unilateral punitive measures on Syria under the so-called Caesar Act, further complicating the process of economic recovery.