Is Syria a 'Proxy War' Between US, Russia?

It's American missiles versus Russian airstrikes
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2015 3:22 PM CDT
Is Syria a 'Proxy War' Between US, Russia?
Syrian rebels fire an American-made missile against Russia-backed troops in what many are starting to call a proxy war.   (YouTube)

"We’re not going to make Syria into a proxy war between the United States and Russia," the Washington Post cites President Obama saying earlier this month. He might be the only person left who doesn't think it already is. "With the enhanced insurgent firepower and with Russia steadily raising the number of airstrikes against the government’s opponents, the Syrian conflict is edging closer to an all-out proxy war," the New York Times reports. "American antitank missiles supplied to Syrian rebels are playing an unexpectedly prominent role in shaping the Syrian battlefield, giving the conflict the semblance of a proxy war," the Post states. "Of course it is," John McCain told CNN when asked if Syria was a proxy war.

The CIA began supplying anti-tank missiles to Syrian insurgents in 2013, the Times reports. Since Russia started launching airstrikes on behalf of the Assad regime, insurgent leaders claim deliveries of TOW missiles have increased. “We can get as much as we need and whenever we need them,” one leader says. “Just fill in the numbers.” According to the Post, dozens of videos have been popping on YouTube in the past week showing TOW missiles being used against Russian-made tanks and armored vehicles. The Times reports the increased firepower being supplied by both sides has made an eventual peaceful resolution to the conflict less likely than ever and is starting to show shades of Afghanistan in the 1980s. "As during the Cold War, US and Russian arms supplies will simply fan the flames of conflict and beget more death and destruction," one expert writes for CNN. (More Syria stories.)

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