Firas Maksad discusses US strikes on Syria with BBC
In the short-term, this weekend’s airstrikes will most likely not change the situation in Syria, especially since the US and its allies opted for a limited campaign targeting chemical weapons’ facilities instead of saturation strikes against regime assets. While these strikes are unlikely to deter Assad, the Trump Administration’s stated readiness to strike again, should Assad redeploy chemical agents, might serve as a deterrent against future chemical attacks. That being said, the strikes did not weaken Assad’s position, much less wipe out his ability to wage chemical warfare; he can still continue to make and use chlorine gas. It is possible the strikes damaged his ability to deploy sarin gas but most of the damage inflicted by his military comes from conventional arms. He also still enjoys strong Russian and Iranian support. US engagement in Syria is not open-ended but European allies, in particular, would like American forces to stay to combat ISIS and keep tabs on Iran.