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    Diplomacy Over War: Syrians Praise Putin Amid Russia's Pullout

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    Syrians feel immense gratitude towards Russian military and Aerospace Forces with the popularity of Vladimir Putin soaring.

    The partial withdrawal of Russian troops from the country is a matter of concern for the Syrian community, but the faith in Moscow's help is unwavering, according to the US media.

    “Since Moscow lent its air power to the Syrian government’s war, Russian leader Vladimir Putin has achieved cult status in Damascus.”

    ​The posters with slogans such as, “‘Together against terrorism’ are posted at various checkpoints, Army Generals lovingly refer to Russian president as ‘Abu Ali Putin’ and some Syrian schools have started offering lessons of Russian language,” Loveday Morris wrote for The Washington Post.

    Professor of International Relations at Damascus University, Bassam Abu Abdullah, speaking about the withdrawal of Russian aircraft from Syria, said that Kremlin's decision demonstrates that Russians prefer diplomacy over endless war.

    According to him, this step does not mean that Russia is breaking up with President Bashar al-Assad, as even the allies have their differences. “Between the United States and Israel, there are differences too, but they remain allies. The opposition complained that the presence of Russian military interferes with dialogue,” the professor said.

    ​“Six months of Russian airstrikes helped Assad stem, and then reverse, losses on the battlefield, with his forces regaining 4,000 square miles of territory. By beginning a pullout, Moscow appears to be pressing for a political deal as a new round of peace talks begin in Geneva while maintaining a cease-fire that has brought some respite from violence,” The Washington Post wrote.

    Abdullah said that it is natural that the two countries may have different strategic visions about how the conflict should be brought to an end.

    In the al-Zahira neighborhood in southern Damascus, Hassan al-Burni, who heads the local National Defense Force militia that gathered to the assistance of the government, said the Russian airstrikes had been helpful, because of the Russians’ better technology, but it was not a decisive factor.

    ​“Winning depends on the boots on the ground,” said the burly commander, a gold chain around his neck and watch bearing the face of Assad on his wrist. “And we have them,” the publication noted.

    Al-Burni’s neighborhood lies just north of Yarmouk, one of the surrounded areas that the cease-fire was meant to open up to aid deliveries, but distributions have been slow, with the government accused of holding them up.

    “The rations will be looted by the terrorists who will sell them to the people at high prices,” Burni said. Still, with the cease-fire in place, some are daring to envisage a life after the conflict. They see a flicker of hope,” he said. “No war can last forever,” The Washington Post reported.

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    Tags:
    Russian aerial campaign, allies, ceasefire, dialogue, Daesh, The Washington Post, Vladimir Putin, Syria
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