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Wanted: A US strategy on Syria

Air strikes in Syria on Saturday by the United States, France and Britain might have degraded the chemical weapons capability of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, but they were also a reminder of the deepening vortex of a big-power proxy war.

The strikes were preceded by public warnings against them by Russia, which was taunted publicly by US President Donald Trump. The legality of the air strikes under international law, however, remains questionable. During an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned grimly that in the new Cold War, past mechanisms for managing the risk of escalation between the US and Russia "no longer seem to be present".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 16, 2018, with the headline 'Wanted: A US strategy on Syria'. Print Edition | Subscribe