The effects of the missile strike President Donald Trump ordered Thursday against an airbase in Syria in response to a suspected lethal toxic gas attack on civilians continue to referberate from Washington to the Middle East to Moscow.
Now, senior military officials at the Pentagon are looking into whether staunch Syrian ally Russia may have played some sort of role in the atrocity — and evidence of a drone overflying the attack site might prove it, according to The Associated Press.
According to The AP, military analysts are looking at evidence of a drone first seen hovering over the site of Tuesday’s chemical attack on the Syrian rebel-held town of Idlib, and later spotted over a hospital where victims were being treated. An aerial bombardment of the hospital occurred shortly after the drone was seen above it.
It is thought by the officials that the bombing of the hospital may have been an attempt to cover up evidence of the chemical attack, which would be a war crime of a most horrific kind.
CNN reported that Pentagon officials are confident the drone was one of many routinely being operated by the Russian military, and are also investigating whether the aircraft that bombed the hospital was a Russian warplane.
Both Russia and Syria have denied having a role in the chemical attack, instead blaming it on an unfortunate circumstance of an illicit rebel stockpile of chemicals kept in a warehouse being hit by a standard Syrian regime airstrike.
To be sure, it remained unclear at this time if Russia played any direct role in the alleged chemical attack, but it is known that the Russians had a presence at the airbase suspected of launching the attack, meaning they likely had at least some notion of what was going on.
Considering that the main reason for Russia’s presence in Syria in the first place was to oversee the destruction and removal of the regime’s stockpile of chemical weapons, the use of such weapons at this point would signify that they had either failed in their primary objective or have been covering for Syria’s non-compliance with an agreement to disarm themselves of such weapons.
“Clearly Russia has failed in its responsibility to deliver on that commitment,” stated Secretary of State Rex Tillerson rather bluntly on Thursday, according to Fox News. “Either Russia has been complicit or simply incompetent on delivering its end of that agreement.”
Indeed. Should it be proven that the drone seen hovering and airstrike that hit the hospital treating the victims of the chemical attack were in fact operated by the Russians, they will have been shown to have been complicit in a terrifying war crime. If not, then they simply did a shoddy job of recovering and removing the Assad regime’s stockpile of chemicals.
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