In the aftermath of Trump’s missile strike, congressional Democrats urged precaution while Republican leaders promptly urged President Trump to push for Assad’s ousting. The Democrats have apparently been proved correct in emphasizing precaution; President Bashar al-Assad’s allies have since threatened reprisals against any further assaults on the regime. This development doesn’t bode well for future success in handling the Syrian crisis. A miscalculated American intervention in Syria might worsen the country’s humanitarian crisis, drag America into another war in the Middle East, and leave a leadership void for myriad extremist groups.
The humanitarian situation in Syria is already appalling, with over 400,000 people killed since 2011. The Assad regime has showed little concern for innocent civilians when securing power. If the US toughens their assaults on the regime, a Russia-led retaliation could be imminent, leading to a possible confrontation between the US and Russia. Indeed, Russia and Iran have already committed to “respond with force to any aggressor or any breach of red lines from whoever it is and America knows our ability to respond well.” In this scenario, civilian casualties and internal displacement would certainly deteriorate further.
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