Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

Keith Preston: Russia disrupting US plans to topple Syria’s Assad

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“The Americans do not like the Russians getting in the way” of toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, says US journalist Keith Preston.

The US seeks to push Russia out of Syria because it views Moscow as a huge hurdle in its plans to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, says a political analyst in Virginia.

Keith Preston, the chief editor and director of, made the remarks on Wednesday, while discussing the rising number of civilian casualties in America’s so-called war against the Daesh (ISIL) terrorists in Iraq and Syria.

The US military has admitted to killing several hundred civilians since the beginning of its aerial campiagn against purported Daesh positions inside Syria and Iraq in 2014, with the last incident reported on Monday when a US airstrike killed 20 civilians near the city of Manbij in Syria’s Aleppo Province.

“What is significant about this particular situation in Syria is not really that there are civilian casualties, there is nothing unique about that,” he said. “However, it is important to understand the geopolitical context in which this is happening.”

On the one hand, Preston said, Washington has been urging Russia to stop its aerial campaign against the al-Nusra Front terror group, an al-Qaeda affiliate, in Syria. Russia has been pounding al-Nusra and other terror groups such as Daesh since 2014.

This is while the US has escalated its own military efforts in the region, a move that indicates Moscow and Washington have “polar opposite objectives” in the conflict, Preston argued.

“The Russian see the Syrian government of President [Bashar] Assad as a bulwark against terrorism in the region and Russians wish to maintain stability of that government,” the journalist explained.

“The Americans, however, are more concerned about toppling the Syrian government” as their “first goal,” Preston added.

The reason for that intention is Assad’s refusal to “incorporate Syria into the American system of hegemony in the Middle East,” he said, portraying Syria as a rival to Saudi Arabia, Israel and other states that are aligned with the US.

Americans oppose Russian raids against some terror groups as they see potential in those groups to serve the ultimate US goal of removing Assad, Preston noted.

“The Americans do not like the Russians getting in the way of this,” he concluded.

The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict that has gripped Syria for over five years now.

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