Washington, Sep 12 (PTI): Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned the US against any unilateral military strike on Syria, saying it would trigger a new wave of terrorism, result in the collapse of the UN and claim more innocent victims as the conflict could spread beyond Syria’s borders.
Speaking “directly to the American people and their political leaders”, Putin said any military action on Syria without the UN Security Council’s approval “would constitute an act of aggression.” “It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance,” Putin wrote in an op-ed in The New York Times.
He said any attack, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the Pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders.
“A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli- Palestinian conflict and further destabilise the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance,” Putin said.
The Russian leader also said he has no doubt poison gas was used in Syria, but accused Syrian rebels of carrying out the chemical weapons attack.
“But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists,” Putin wrote.
His op-ed article came a day after US President Barack Obama told war-weary Americans in a nationally televised address that he has decided to put on hold the attack on Syria to give diplomacy a chance.
Putin said it is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts of foreign countries has become commonplace for the US. “Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan ‘you’re either with us or against us’,” he wrote.
Having taken the world’s centre-stage amidst the Syrian crisis, Putin warned the international community against bypassing the UN as this would result in the collapse of the global body.
“No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations, which collapsed because it lacked real leverage. This is possible if influential countries bypass the United Nations and take military action without Security Council authorisation,” Putin wrote.