MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia will play an active role in the negotiations between the parties to the ongoing Syrian civil war, experts told Sputnik on Wednesday.
The experts' comments come in the wake of Syrian President Bashar Assad's visit on Tuesday to Moscow for talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. As Assad arrived in Moscow, which was his first foreign visit since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011, he expressed his gratitude to the entire Russian leadership for the help it has giving to his country.
"We see that Russia is now very active. They are in contact with Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran. The meeting with Assad was held in this context," the expert told Sputnik.
He added that Russia is "the only ally of Assad and can contribute to a political settlement of the conflict."
"If we want a political solution it is necessary for all the parties to sit at the negotiating table. If achieved, it will be a decisive moment," Schroder pointed out, adding that "a political solution to the Syrian conflict without Russia is impossible."
Mehrzad Boroujerdi, professor and chair of the political science department at Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, agrees with Schroder that "Russia will play an important role" in the future negotiations on Syrian crisis reconciliation.
However, according to the professor, Moscow cannot become the main sponsor of the talks "because of its close affiliation with Assad."
"The fact is that the Syrian conflict can't be solved militarily and there must be a political solution. There has to be political power sharing since neither side is able to totally eliminate the other," Boroujerdi told Sputnik.
Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with the army loyal to President Bashar Assad fighting several opposition factions and numerous militant groups, including Islamic State and the Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate.
On September 30, Russia began precision airstrikes on IS positions in Syria at the request of President Assad. Since the beginning of the aerial campaign, Russian Aerospace Forces have reportedly carried out some 750 strikes, killing several hundred militants and destroying dozens of command centers, and depots used by the terrorists.
Besides its anti-IS efforts, Moscow has concurrently promoted a political settlement in Syria, hosting two rounds of intra-Syrian talks between representatives of the Syrian government and the country's opposition in 2015.