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    Not by Jets Alone: This is the Secret to Russia's Success in Syria

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    At a time when perception is as important as achievements, Russia has accomplished both in Syria. Its engagement was instrumental in turning the tide of the war, while its "well-coordinated media campaign," as the National Interest put it, has effectively highlighted Moscow's military and diplomatic efforts aimed at resolving the crisis.

    Some have called this holistic approach "hybrid warfare," even though this term does not accurately describe Russian activities in the war-torn country.

    "Although the future of the war in Syria is uncertain, what remains clear is that Russia is fighting a hybrid war, combining its military, diplomatic and media capabilities to achieve its goals using limited armed engagement," Ari Heistein and Vera Michlin-Shapir wrote for the American international affairs magazine.

    Up to 70 Daesh militants were killed in internal fighting in the de-facto Daesh capital of Raqqa in northern Syria, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) said Saturday.
    © AP Photo / Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State
    They also noted Moscow's "resourceful use of public relations" in its efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis.

    The liberation of Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a prime case in point. Russia's role in the April offensive was vital.

    Daesh captured the iconic city at a time when Damascus was struggling to contain the foreign-sponsored insurgency. Eleven months later the Syrian Arab Army, assisted by Russian warplanes and local allies, pushed the terrorist group out of Palmyra.

    Russia's world-famous Mariinsky Orchestra performed in the city to celebrate this landmark victory.

    "The concert was full of symbolism – conducted by the renowned Russian conductor Valery Gergiev; featuring [Vladimir] Putin's close friend, cellist Sergei Roldugin; and dedicated to the archeologist Khalid al-Asaad, who was murdered for refusing to lead [Daesh] fighters to the city's hidden antiquities," the experts detailed.

    Russia's role outside of the battlefield in Syria has involved major diplomatic efforts aimed at securing a nationwide truce and launching a political peace process. Although both have proved to be fragile, they offer hope for the country devastated by more than five years of violence.

    Russia's "hybrid offensive has undoubtedly been effective thus far, as the Western and Middle Eastern media continue to admire Moscow's entrance into the region," the analysts added.

    Moreover, the limited and efficient campaign has also helped Russia to raise its influence in the region.

    The operation "has put the Russians in a stronger position without imposing any meaningful costs on them," American diplomat Dennis Ross observed, adding that "Middle Eastern leaders are making pilgrimages to Moscow to see Vladimir Putin these days, not rushing to Washington."

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    Tags:
    Russian aerial campaign, public relations, Syrian conflict, media, diplomacy, Daesh, Palmyra, Syria, Russia
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