Roadside Bomb Targets Syrian Military, UN Observers

Rebels Bet Syrian Troops Bombed Themselves

Six Syrian soldiers were wounded today in a roadside bombing against a convoy near the southern town of Deraa. The bombing was particularly noteworthy because 12 members of the UN ceasefire monitoring team were present at the attack, though none of them were wounded.

Rebels have attacked Syrian military convoys on a number of occasions, but attacking them right in front of the UN monitors harms their narrative that they are helpless victims of military aggression.

To that end, Free Syrian Army spokesmen insisted that the attack was carried out by the military itself, on the military. Why the military would attack itself, let alone in front of the UN monitoring team and a bunch of Western journalists, is unclear.

Yet Western officials, committed to backing the rebels, have embraced the incredibly lame excuse, with French officials saying that they hold the Syrian military fully responsible for “endangering” the UN team. With UN officials saying the attack could threaten the overall monitoring mission, hawkish officials seem to be hoping to parlay this into an excuse to attack Syria.

Meanwhile, new reports are accusing Syria of “bypassing” Western sanctions for buying, of all things, food. A purchase of grain, necessitated because the state of near-civil war has left many short of basic necessities, was made through a Lebanese office, but the shipment’s delivery was routed to a Syrian port. Officials say that while buying food this way is technically not a crime, it did violate the spirit of EU sanctions against Syria’s government.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.