Russian and US troops are working with Kurdish YPG fighters to combat ISIS
A defense expert warns that ‘escalation is bound to happen’ between troops
US CentralCommand said, however, that military commanders are working together to avoid accidental casualties and inadvertently striking one another
Russia wants an ‘alliance’ with the US and to be ‘recognized as an equal partner’
During the first two weeks of March, the troops worked together to stop the Turkish army from entering Manbij, a town in the Aleppo region of Syria
Russian troops are within ‘hand-grenade range’ of American forces in parts of Syria, sparking fears of escalated tension in the region.
The two nations are working together with Kurdish YPG fighters in the country to combat ISISin Syria and neighboring Iraq.
Though the countries’ commanders are in contact, the Pentagon stopped military-to-military cooperation following Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.
Recently the forces ‘have converged literally within hand-grenade range of one another’, warned Army Lt. Gen. Steven Townsend, the commander of Combined Joint Task ForceOperation Inherent Resolve.
US and Russian troops are working together with Kurdish YPG fighters in the country to combat ISIS in Syria and neighboring Iraq. Pictured above, American army vehicles drive north of Manbij city, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria
‘Escalation is bound to happen,’ Andreas Krieg, a professor at the Defense Studies Department at King’s College London, told NBC News.
US Central Command said, however, that military commanders are working together to avoid accidental casualties and inadvertently striking one another.
Russia wants ‘an alliance between Russia and the United States in fighting terrorism, and to be recognized as an equal partner with the United States’, Igor Sutyagin, a seniorresearch fellow at London’s Royal United Services Institute, told NBC.
He said an alliance would strengthen its ‘international standing as a power and its position with its own people’.
Kreig added that US and Russian interests in the Middle East are ‘overlapping to a huge extent’.
‘Fighting ISIS and fighting the jihadis is absolutely the first priority of the [Donald] Trump administration,’ he told NBC News. ‘This is why [Defense Secretary James] Mattis is going so hardcore after ISIS. And almost everything goes as long as they are fighting jihadis at the same time.’
As of last month, there were approximately 1,000 US troops fighting on the ground, while there are between 1,600 and 4,500 Russian troops in the same area.
US commanders are weighing the possibility of deploying hundreds more troops, and the Pentagon this week announced it had provided artillery support and choppered local forcesbehind enemy lines in a bid to seize a strategic dam.
During the first two weeks of March, the troops worked together to stop the Turkish army from entering Manbij, a town in the Aleppo region of Syria.
A witness told NBC that he saw Russian, Syrian and US troops all within three miles from one another at separate bases near the town on March 12.
Before teaming up with Kurdish fighters, US and Russian troops were on different sides of the Syrian civil war.
The United States should be prepared to launch preemptive strikes on North Korea, including a nuclear attack if necessary, before the communist nation uses its nuclear bombs that could “kill 90 percent of Americans,” a former CIA chief said Wednesday.
James Woolsey, who served as CIA director from 1993-95, made the case in an op-ed piece in the Hill newspaper, arguing that the U.S. is erroneously underestimating Pyongyang’s capabilities to deliver nuclear weapons by missile, freighter and even satellite.
“Why do the press and public officials ignore or under-report these facts? Perhaps no administration wants to acknowledge that North Korea is an existential threat on their watch,” Woolsey said in the article, titled “How North Korea could kill 90 percent of Americans.”
“Whatever the motives for obfuscating the North Korean nuclear threat, the need to protect the American people is immediate and urgent. The U.S. must be prepared to preempt North Korea by any means necessary, including nuclear weapons,” he said.
Woolsey rejected the official U.S. intelligence assessment that the North has not yet demonstrated mastery of the technology to build an intercontinental ballistic missile reentry vehicle or to miniaturize nuclear weapons small enough to fit atop an ICBM capable of reaching the U.S.
“Any nation that has built nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, as North Korea has done, can easily overcome the relatively much simpler technologicalchallenge of warhead miniaturization and reentry vehicle design,” he said, adding that the North’s road mobile KN-08 and KN-14 missiles appear to be equipped with sophisticated reentry vehicles.
Even if the North were not yet able to deliver nuclear weapons by missile, it can still deliver one “hidden on a freighter sailing under a false flag into a U.S. port, or hire their terrorist allies to fly a nuclear 9/11 suicide mission across the unprotected border with Mexico,”Woolsey said.
“In this scenario, populous port cities likeNew York, New Orleans, Los Angeles,and San Francisco, or big cities nearest the Mexican border, like San Diego, Phoenix, Austin, and Santa Fe, would be most at risk,” he said. “A Hiroshima-type A-Bomb having a yield of 10-kilotons detonated in a major city would cause about 200,000 casualties from blast, thermal, and radiation effects.”
“According to the Congressional EMP Commission, a single warhead delivered by North Korean satellite could blackout the national electric grid and other life-sustaining critical infrastructures for over a year, killing 9 of 10 Americans by starvation and societal collapse,” he said.