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Strategic Vision: What May be Russia’s Next Step in Syria

© Sputnik / Dmitriy Vinogradov / Go to the photo bankAl-Baath University students hold rally in support of Russia's military operation in Syria
Al-Baath University students hold rally in support of Russia's military operation in Syria - Sputnik International
While Russian forces have accomplished their assigned tasks in Syria and have turned the tide of war on global terrorism, some are questioning what Russia can do next. However, the current reduction of forces was a surprising move and has concrete political and strategic goals, French analyst Alain Rodier said.

It is important to underscore once again that the Russian leader did not announce the total withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria. President Putin emphasized that Russia would pull out the "bulk of its forces" deployed to Syria.

President Vladimir Putin meets with President of Syria Bashar al-Assad - Sputnik International
Putin's Telegram to Assad: Russia Will Continue Supporting Syria
First of all, this surprising move was a political gesture, Rodier pointed out. Russia has sent Syrian President Bashar Assad a clear signal that the crisis should be settled at the negotiating table.

Both Moscow and Washington would like a peace power transition, but neither want extremists to come to power.

At the same time, Russian cannot leave Damascus without military assistance, the expert said. A total pullout would be a political defeat and undermine all combat achievements.

"In fact, Vladimir Putin doesn’t seem to be ready to leave Syria without a Russian military presence. Rumors are going around that in summer Russia may send its only aircraft carrier – the Admiral Kuznetsov – to Syria. Putin may replace aircraft with an aircraft carrier," Rodier told Atlantico.

Furthermore, the analyst praised the role the Russian military has played in the Syrian crisis, saying that "Vladimir Putin acted faultlessly."

"In fact, the Russian engagement saved the situation. Backed by Russian airstrikes, the Syrian Army managed to launch an offensive against terrorists across the country," Rodier said.

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