mosul womanWHERE DO YOU stand on the conflict in Syria? This question has become perhaps the ultimate political and sectarian Rorschach test of our time. Are you a leftist or libertarian who opposes U.S. air strikes and waxes lyrical about the paramountcy of Syrian sovereignty and international law? Or are you a very mainstream liberal or conservative who backs military action to remove the Syrian dictator from power — or, at least, to protect his people from barrel bombs and chemical attacks?

assad putinThis week the world witnessed yet another chemical attack in Syria. After horrendous footage from Khan Sheikhoun showed children suffocating from sarin gas and relatives crying over piles of dead bodies, Russia was forced to react. But while Washington used the attack as an excuse for missile strikes on a regime-held airbase in southern Syria, Moscow did the exact opposite - it used it as an excuse for more excuses. And the excuse was produced quickly:

idlib kidsIn the early hours of 7 April, the US military launched a series of missile strikes against an air base in northern Syria, in retaliation for the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons attack against civilians three days earlier.

The strike shows that President Donald Trump is more willing to use military force in Syria than his predecessor, Barack Obama.

child aleppoThen U.S. President Barack Obama said, "I want to make it absolutely clear to Assad and those under his command - the world is watching," during a speech at the National Defense University in Washington on Dec. 4, 2012. This was a warning against the possible use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime. That attack came on Aug. 21, 2013 in Ghouta near Damascus, killing at least 1,500 people including women and children. Five years on, Assad has killed far more people than any other criminal in recent history. He has done it with both chemical and conventional weapons while the world was "watching."

us syrai strikeSyria decried a U.S. missile attack early Friday morning on a government-controlled air base where U.S. officials say the Syrian military launched a deadly chemical attack earlier this week, calling it an "aggression" that led to "losses." Rebels welcomed the U.S. attack.