16:52 GMT17 May 2021
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    Daesh strength seemed to have no limits in the months that followed Barack Obama's pledge to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the terrorist group; the militants have been steadily losing ground only after Moscow and Damascus joined forces against them, British political expert Marcus Papadopoulos told Radio Sputnik.

    Papadopoulos maintains that Russia's air campaign and activities of the Syrian army are "the only reason" why Daesh is on retreat in Syria and why the group's "reign of terror is starting to collapse."

    Some, particularly in the West, have asserted that it is the US-led coalition that has sent the terrorist group flying. Papadopoulos, the publisher of Politics First magazine, believes these claims are "an absolute lie, an absolute distortion of events." He also called Washington's campaign "an abject failure."

    Syrian army personnel load howitzers near the village of Morek, Syria on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015
    © AP Photo / Alexander Kots/Komsomolskaya Pravda
    Syrian army personnel load howitzers near the village of Morek, Syria on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015

    The British analyst emphasized that the key to succeeding in the fight against Daesh and other radical groups, which are trying to overthrow Bashar al-Assad and establish an Islamic state in the war-torn Arab country, was to work with the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). The SAA and the Kurds have long been considered the ultimate boots on the ground, which are capable of tackling extremists.

    "The Syrian Army is the heart and soul in the fight against [Daesh] and all other Islamist terrorist groups" all across the country, Papadopoulos said.

    Washington does not seem to share this sentiment. US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has recently said that the US-led coalition will send boots on the ground in Syria and Iraq, but he did not specify what country will supply them.

    The British analyst does not believe that Carter was talking about conventional US troops. "I think that what [Carter] is referring to is an increase in the American special forces (and probably other Western special forces) operating in Iraq and Syria against [Daesh]," the expert observed.

    Papadopoulos pointed out that Carter's statement also "demonstrates the contradictory nature of American foreign policy when it comes to the Middle East." After all, Barack Obama was propelled to office by an anti-war sentiment. He pledged to withdraw tens of thousands of US troops from the Middle East and to some extent delivered on that promise, before sending them back to the region.

    "But then we had other American officials, military and non-military, say that the US is seriously considering deploying troops to fight [Daesh] in Iraq and Syria," the analyst noted. "Reality is of course that Obama has as much blood on his hands as does Bill Clinton and George W. Bush in particular in Syria which the Americans had played a leading role in creating."


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    boots on the ground, US-led coalition, Russian aerial campaign, Syrian conflict, Daesh, Syrian Arab Army, Syria, US, Russia
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