"There is a growing sense in Moscow, and among diplomats and politicians in some countries in the Middle East and the West, that Russia has a better chance than others to combine its increased influence over Assad with its military muscle in Syria's skies to broker a deal that ends the Syrian conflict," the media outlet noted.
Success in Syria, the Asian Times believes, will only be the first act in a larger strategy spanning the whole region which also involves "forging alliances with every key player in the regional arena."
- Russian military air group at Hmeymim airbase in Syria© Sputnik / Dmitriy Vinogradov
- Russian aircraft in SyriaRussian Defense Ministry
- Russian military aviation at Khmeimim airbase in Syria© Sputnik / Dmitriy Vinogradov
Russia has already significantly improved relations with countries as diverse as Israel, Iraq, Egypt and Iran as evidenced by recent high-profile visits, fresh cooperation agreements and increased military assistance.
Take Baghdad, for instance.
The "Iraqi government apparently believes it hasn't been receiving adequate assistance from the US and the European Union to ward off the Sunni Islamic State (ISIS). It's turned to Moscow for support and is now receiving Russian aid under an intelligence and security cooperation agreement," the media outlet noted.
Although Ankara and Riyadh support rebel groups which are fighting to overthrow the legitimate government in Damascus, both countries want to discuss the Syrian conflict and possible ways of resolving it with Moscow, not antagonize it. King Salman is reported to be planning a trip to Russia to discuss this and other issues with President Putin.
Russia has launched a multinational campaign to tackle extremist groups in Syria following a formal request from Damascus. The aerial operation has been successful in killing hundreds of ISIL members and other militants, as well as destroying command centers, equipment and underground shelters.