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Sept. 17, 2016

The Syrian American Forum strongly condemns the direct American aerial attack against the Syrian army on 17 September 2016. This act constitutes a direct unprecedented public engagement by the U.S. in the conflict in Syria, on the side of extremist terrorist militants.

This attack comes within the initial phase of the latest U.S. - Russia Memorandum of Understanding on safety of flight, as part of the Cessation of Hostilities. The MOU, the details of which continue to be secret by American demand, specify that the American, Russian and Syrian air forces are permitted to only attack the so-called ISIS and AlNusra militants. The Defense Department implied, in a statement released in the aftermath of the attack that it was done by mistake. It claimed American warplanes were attacking forces of the so-called ISIL, and only realized it was not so “when Russian officials told them it was possible the personnel and vehicles targeted were part of the Syrian military”. Such a justification is not sensible since the area attacked has long been identified as a Syrian Army position.

SAF calls on the administration to adhere to the agreements it pushed for, and achieved, with Russia and immediately accepted by the Syrian government. SAF further calls on the administration to immediately halt its direct and indirect support of militants in Syria. These militants are fueling the conflict and aim at dragging the U.S. into direct involvement in this conflict. They are extremists and directly aligned with AlQaeda offshoots in Syria. Such entanglement only drags American forces into an indirect alliance with the same terrorists we are claiming to fight and aim to defeat. Defeating terrorism will only be achieved through cooperation with the Syrian state and army, not attacking them.

SAF reiterates that the only solution to this crisis is a political one based on aligning all reasonable forces to fight terrorism and preserve the Syrian state. It should be based on preserving Syria’s independence, unity and territorial integrity as the final outcome.