"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.
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."
"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.