[Ed. – The perennial problem in this Syrian conflict. Sometimes the Russians — or Iranians — are just full of it when they claim to be going after ISIS. But not always. At times, ISIS really is the contingent that’s in the way of what the regime-side coalition wants to do. When you’re under an increasingly aged, dog-eared AUMF, issuing red-line warnings isn’t always a good idea, if Russia has a way to ISIS-wash each tactical action.]
Eleven days ago, amid signs that the Assad regime was preparing to launch an offensive in the ceasefire zone – which includes the Daraa and al-Quneitra provinces – State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert declared in a statement that the U.S. “will take firm and appropriate measures in response to Syrian government violations in this area” – repeating a warning she had made earlier, on May 25.
The June 14 statement also highlighted Russia’s responsibility in particular to pressure its ally to comply.
Instead, the Assad regime last week bombarded rebel-held towns in Daraa province, the area where the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad began with anti-government protests more than seven years ago, and one of the remaining few opposition strongholds in the country.