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Russia's Anti-ISIL Efforts 'Shift Syrian Civil War Landscape'

© REUTERS / Khalil AshawiSmoke rises from a base controlled by rebel fighters from the Ahrar al-Sham Movement, that was targeted by what activists said were Russian airstrikes at Hass ancient cemeteries in the southern countryside of Idlib, Syria October 1, 2015.
Smoke rises from a base controlled by rebel fighters from the Ahrar al-Sham Movement, that was targeted by what activists said were Russian airstrikes at Hass ancient cemeteries in the southern countryside of Idlib, Syria October 1, 2015. - Sputnik International
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The Russian decision to launch military operations against the Islamic State extremist group in Syria has changed the layout of the civil war in the country, Francois Ralle, the French consular adviser in Spain, told Sputnik.

US fighter jets in Syria - Sputnik International
Russia Unlikely to Join Forces With US-Led Anti-ISIL Coalition
MADRID (Sputnik) — The diplomat stressed the Russian anti-ISIL airstrikes come after the United States “has realized that its course on confrontation with Moscow and with [Syrian President] Bashar Assad is fueling instability and does not lead them anywhere."

Ralle added that Moscow could not let Damascus, "a city that has recently doubled its population" due to a refugee influx, fall into the hands of ISIL since the capture of the Syrian capital would doom its inhabitants.

Syria has been mired in a civil war since 2011, as government forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad fight several opposition and violent religious fundamentalist groups, including ISIL and the Nusra Front.

A bomber flies over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria against Islamic State group targets in Syria - Sputnik International
Russia Does Not Change US Strategy in Syria, Deconfliction to be Added
Since the beginning of the war, the United States and some of its allies have supported a so-called moderate Syrian opposition in its war with the Syrian government. Russia has repeatedly stated that Assad is the legitimate president of Syria and the only force capable of resisting terrorism in the country.

On Wednesday, Russia launched its first airstrikes on IS positions in Syria following a request from President Bashar Assad.

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