MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The US-led coalition of Western and Gulf Arab forces has been conducting airstrikes against ISIL positions in Iraq and Syria since 2014. Washington has been reluctant to work with the official Syrian government, opting instead to support what it deems to be a "moderate" Syrian opposition.
Russia considers the government of President Bashar Assad to be the legitimate authority in Syria under international law and provides military and technical assistance to Damascus in its fight against the ISIL extremists.
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia was not planning to participate in any military operations on the territory of Syria or other countries.
"It can be taken as a good intention sign. However, the reality in Syria is still very much disturbing, and the conflict has gone beyond the possibility to talk on what is good intention or not, and what is good messaging or not," Farea Muslimi, a co-founder and chairman of the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies, told Sputnik.
According to Muslimi, Putin’s support for Assad is not for the Syrian president's sake, but for what he symbolizes for Russia in Syria.
"Western countries are still not convinced that [Syrian President Bashar] Assad can be part of the solution to Syria," Muslimi, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center, argued.
Muslimi added that considering Assad's resignation as the prerequisite for the settlement of the Syrian crisis "is a huge logical fallacy," as the so-called vacuum of power was one of the reasons for the Islamic State gaining control over the vast territories.
"To face the Islamic State in Syria, you have to go beyond [the cooperation between] Russia and the United States and to have regional powers involved. Otherwise it won't make much difference," Muslimi concluded.
The airstrikes conducted by the United States in Syria since 2014 without Damascus’ consent created a lot of problems, so Putin's proposal to address issues within the United Nations through multilateral negotiations is justified, a professor at the Jinan University’s College of Journalism and Communication told Sputnik.
"Unilateral actions of the United States in Syria not only failed to help overthrow Assad, but led to the Islamic State build-up, a massive flow of refugees, which has damaged the interests of the European Union," Wu Fei said.
According to Wu, solving international problems within such an organization as the United Nations would be a slower, but more reliable process in terms of achieving a consensus without negative factors.
Wu reminded that the first example of the United States resorting to unilateral actions was a bombing campaign with its NATO allies in 1999 against Serbia for 78 days to permit mostly Muslim Albanians in Kosovo to claim independence.
"With the help of a unilateral action, the United States not only resolved the Kosovo issue, but split Yugoslavia. Since then, the United States thinks that by acting unilaterally, they can kill two birds with one stone. The United States are guided by these experiences to this day."
According to Wu, the bombing campaign in Kosovo created the illusion for Washington, that the similar approach could be successfully applied to conflicts in other regions, including the civil war in Syria.
"In Libya and Egypt, the Americans acted the same way… The result, as we see, is deplorable. I think that in other cases, the policy of unilateral actions failed," Wu said.
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