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A tale of two air strikes

President Barack Obama meets with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at his dacha outside Moscow, Russia, July 7, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza/Public Domain)

The war in Syria and Iraq is nowhere close to over. While its seems clear that ISIS is losing its grip on territory and power as it loses strength, there is a second aspect to the war that is now gaining a bit more prominence.

There are a great many reasons behind the rise of ISIS, including the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, but the most central and most recent reason is that civil war in Syria created the initial space for the group to grow and gain prominence.

As Canada and its allies make progress in the battle to degrade and destroy ISIS, the civil war in Syria shows no signs of stopping. In fact, it’s getting uglier.

Take, for example, two recent air strikes, which occurred as the latest in a long line of mysterious, “mistaken” attacks.

On Sept. 17, a series of American attack aircraft conducted strikes on Syrian army troops. This is the first time the coalition has attacked Syrian troops, and while it reportedly wasn’t intentional, it doesn’t look good. At least 62 Syrians were killed and more than 100 wounded. The Russians, who are the Syrians main ally in the civil war, were not happy.

UN Convoy in Syria.

“While we are still trying to determine all the facts, if we mistakenly struck a Syrian military position, we regret doing so, especially the loss of lives,” said Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook.

And then, on Sept. 19, a UN humanitarian aid convoy was attacked and destroyed as it tried to unload its cargo near the besieged city of Aleppo. While all accounts indicate it must have been Russian air strikes that did the damage, the Russians themselves are taking a somewhat different view: they say the convoy caught fire on its own.

“We have studied video footage from the scene from so-called ‘activists’ in detail and did not find any evidence that the convoy had been struck by ordnance,” spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement. “There are no craters, and the exterior of the vehicles do not have the kind of damage consistent with blasts caused by bombs dropped from the air.”

Meanwhile, the UN has stopped all humanitarian convoys and as a result of these two airstrikes, the war has gotten a little uglier than it was before.

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