Syrian Crisis: Russia 'Turns the Tide' of War While US 'Plays a Double Game'

© Sputnik / Dmitriy Vinogradov / Go to the photo bankRussian pilots prepared to board the SU-30 attack plane to take off from the Hmeymim aerodrome in Syria. File photo
Russian pilots prepared to board the SU-30 attack plane to take off from the Hmeymim aerodrome in Syria. File photo - Sputnik International
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Russia’s engagement in the Syrian conflict has been very important, including a number of major victories both on the battlefield and on the diplomatic front. At the same time, the US involvement has done more harm than good to the situation, Australian political analyst Tom Anderson told Radio Sputnik.

"The Russian air power involvement that began two years ago was critical in turning the tide and we’ve seen steady progress on all fronts, not just because of the air power, but also because of the diplomatic role; for example, the engagement of Russia with Turkey and the talks in Astana that did not include the Western powers. Those diplomatic moves are combined with the military efforts and they are extremely important," said Tim Anderson, an academic expert in economics and international politics from the University of Sydney and author of the book "The dirty war in Syria."

Commenting on Russia's contribution to the military victories on the ground, the expert underscored that Russia has played an important role in supporting the Syrian Army, including during the liberation of Aleppo and the operation in Deir ez-Zor. Anderson also praised Russia's de-mining and humanitarian efforts.

He added, "It is a combined role and Russia is taking an important backseat, but it’s a backseat because the greatest cost has been with the Syrian soldiers themselves."

Commenting further, Anderson pointed out that Moscow has managed to achieve several diplomatically important goals in Syria.

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"Russian diplomats have been talking to all sides. Russia and Turkey had a difficult relationship, after Turkey shot down a Russian plane [in November 2015], and the renewal of this relationship, in other words their strategic relationship, was extremely important. The initiation of diplomatic talks in Astana with Iran and Turkey has been extremely important. Russia has also been instrumental in creating de-confliction zones in Syria," he said.

When asked to compare Russian and US achievements in Syria, the expert said, "The problem is that the United States has been playing a double game. It’s been three years the US-led coalition has been involved in fighting ISIS [Daesh] in Syria. In Syria, the US has not played a significant role at all in defeating ISIS."

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He explained that the goal of this "double game" has been to keep the American presence in the region and to have some sort of strategic influence on the outcome of the conflict.

"But it [role of the US] is not really comparable to the Russian involvement, which has been invited, has been in support of Syrian sovereignty and has been effective," he added.

The expert also suggested that Washington is "very jealous" of Moscow's military and diplomatic success in Syria, especially taking into account the fact that the Russian involvement has derailed the US plan for the Middle East.

"Fundamentally, the US plan has been to dominate the region and dictate terms to its rivals, including Russia and China," Anderson said.

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