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    Decision to Use Air Force in Syria Shows Russia Key Role in Anti-ISIL Fight

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    Russia's decision to use its air force in Syria indicates its key role in countering the threat to global stability posed by the Islamic State extremist group, political analysts told Sputnik.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik), Nadia Kulikova — Earlier in the day, Russia's upper house of parliament unanimously approved the use of the Russian Air Force in Syria after receiving a request for assistance from President Bashar Assad. According to the Kremlin, the primary aim is to support the legitimate Syrian leadership in the fight against ISIL.

    "Russia's military action in Syria confirms that Moscow is once again a major military player on the international stage and that it has resurrected much of its lost superpower status," Marcus Papadopoulos, a British political expert and editor-in-chief of Politics First magazine, said.

    He added that Russia is telling the West that "Washington and its allies no longer have a monopoly on taking military action abroad."

    Russia's decision to conduct air operations in Syria makes Moscow a leader in international community opposition to ISIL, according to Barah Mikail, an expert of the Spanish Foundation for International Relations and Dialogue (FRIDE).

    "This is not just a political issue, this is an issue that is closely linked to international and regional security," he said.

    "Russia's decision to strike at ISIS using the Russian Air Force sends a stern and unambiguous message to the West: that Russia will use military force to firstly, defend its national security; secondly, to defend international law and the United Nations Charter; and thirdly, to defend its allies in the world."

    The expert said that the "chaos" in Syria was the result of the actions of the United States and its regional allies — Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stressed that Russia is the only country carrying out a military operation in Syria on a lawful basis, as it was asked to do so by the Syrian president.

    "And for the last year, the US air campaign against ISIS — an attempt to clear up the mess it started — has been an abject failure as Washington has refused to coordinate its actions with the Syrian army, which is the heart and soul of the fight against ISIS. Enter Russia. Russia will coordinate its airstrikes with the Syrian army so that the latter can take advantage of ISIS positions being bombed," Papadopoulos explained.

    Russia's coordination of airstrikes with Damascus was praised by Barah Mikail. According to Mikail, "despite the differences, the United States and its allies follow the line laid down by the Russian side."

    Moscow indicates the path to follow, the FRIDE analyst stated.

    "The West doesn't like the reality of Russian power today but there is very little it can do about it. The world needs to be a multipolar place and not once dominated by the US. That is better for international law, better for world stability and better for world peace."

    Syria has been in a state of civil war since March 2011. Government forces have been clashing with "moderate" opposition factions and extremist groups, such as ISIL and the Nusra Front.

    Since 2014, the US coalition of over 60 countries have carried out over 6,500 airstrikes on ISIL militants. Washington, however, has been criticized for launching its airstrike campaign without approval from the UN Security Council or Damascus.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Russia Versus ISIL in Syria (618)

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