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Hasty response will aggravate Syria crisis: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2018-04-12 20:39
A man is washed following alleged chemical weapons attack, in what is said to be Douma, Syria in this still image from video obtained by Reuters on April 8, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

The shadow of war that has fallen over Syria is darkening with US President Donald Trump raising his pitch with each passing day and threatening “missiles will be coming” in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack on Saturday.

At least 60 people were killed and more than 1,000 injured in the suspected chemical weapons attack on Syria’s last rebel-controlled area on Saturday, but before there is even an international investigation into the attack to determine what happened and who is to blame, a knee-jerk reaction like the one Trump is threatening will only further complicate the situation and create a greater humanitarian disaster in the war-torn country.

That the United Nations Security Council failed to approve three draft resolutions on setting up an international investigation into the attack on Tuesday shows Washington and Moscow, the two belligerent parties over the issue, need to narrow their differences.

After all, paralyzing the world body does not help international efforts to diagnose and address the grave situation in Syria.

The Syrian people have surely suffered enough after seven years of conflict. Yet even after the Islamic State extremists were defeated in the country, the fighting between the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, supported by Russia, and the rebels, supported by the US, has continued.

A hasty military strike against the Assad regime would increase the possibility of what has been a shadow clash between Washington and Moscow turning into a head-on confrontation.

The two countries should try harder to avoid such a scenario from coming true because it will further aggravate the situation in Syria and only create fertile ground for extremist organizations. And combating terrorists was the professed reason the two countries became involved in the Syrian civil war.

The US leader should, in particular, restrain his penchant for warmongering rhetoric, especially since his country’s military action in neighboring Iraq is responsible for having sparked the current chaos in the Middle East. And in recent years, other countries in the region besides Syria have become mired in conflict and social instability because of the US’ interventionist policy.

Experience shows diplomacy is still the best option for defusing a crisis such as the one in Syria. The United States should think twice before plunging the region deeper into bloodshed and conflict, and take a step back to reappraise its policy toward the Middle East.

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