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Laaneots: Russia, Assad will only acknowledge raw force

Former chief of staff of the Estonian Defence Forces and current Reform Party MP, Ants Laaneots.
Former chief of staff of the Estonian Defence Forces and current Reform Party MP, Ants Laaneots. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

Retired Gen. Ants Laaneots, a member of the National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu, found that the attack against the Syrian air base was completely justified as the Assad regime will not acknowledge anything but raw force.

"How long can [we] play with Assad?" he said to ERR. "How long can [we] play with Russia and allow them to do whatever they please? This was a completely legitimate strike and it has been supported by other Western countries as well."

According to Laaneots, the U.S. conducted the strike very civilly, warning Russians who also use the air base two hours prior. He noted that the goal of the strike was to destroy infrastructure; the Al Shayrat air base was one of the primary facilities of the Syrian Air Force.

He recalled that in the civil war which broke out in Syria in 2011, nearly half a million people have died at Assad's hands, and believed that the Syrian leader should appear before the international court and receive a just punishment for his crimes against humanity. "The attack was the right answer," said Laaneots. "Neither Russia nor Assad will acknowledge anything but raw force. And the Russians themselves are guilty of covering for Assad, who is in reality an executioner and an international criminal."

In the retired general's opinion, Trump and his circle are beginning to understand who Vladimir Putin is and what the Russian leader's ambitions are. Laaneots found that Putin's activities in Syria are characterized by the fact that after September 2015, when a Russian Air Force contingent was stationed there, less than 20 percent of its nearly 11,000 combat flights have been against the Islamic State group. "Everything else has been against opposition forces," he noted. "It is obvious who Master Putin supports."

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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